Friday, December 07, 2012

The Bohemian Nuclear Appeal

Temelin - the Czech nuclear site
We know that nuclear energy gets a strong thumbs up from countries such as the United States and United Kingdom – France – and a few others. And a resolute thumbs down from Germany – Switzerland – Australia. That’s fine – you can’t be loved by everyone all the time.

But where we’re a little fuzzy is a lot of the other countries out there. There have been some international polls, but I find those a little suspect, not necessarily tuned to national temperament or custom. It just seems prone to skew one way or another.
So, this is interesting:
Two thirds of Czechs are for further development of nuclear energy in the Czech Republic, 4 percentage points more than in May, according to the latest poll of agency STEM.
That’s on the low end of what’s found in the United States, but still pretty good. What’s more, this number is a bit depressed form its due to concerns about the Fukushima accident.
Despite that, the current support to nuclear energy has not yet reached the peak from 2009 when over 70 percent of Czechs were in favor of its development.
But if the Czechs are about 10 points down from their high, that’s not bad at all and suggests that the authority that oversees nuclear energy in the Czech Republic has done a good job providing information to the public.

Some of the other numbers expanded on these findings:
On the other hand, support to renewable energy sources is falling. The current poll shows that 44 percent of Czechs think that nuclear energy is replaceable. Still in May, 48 percent of Czechs voiced such opinion, after the Fukushima disaster it was 52 percent but in 2009 only 42 percent.
One of the arguments strongly in favor of support to nuclear energy is fear that energy dependence would pose a security risk for the country. Some three quarters of Czechs subscribe to this view in the long term.
The article doesn’t say so , but I wonder if Russian bad behavior with natural gas a few years ago weighs into the thinking. That’s what energy security means – being able to generate more electricity with one’s own resources. The Czechs have plenty of  uranium, though uranium mining appears to have fallen on hard times – until recently, at least. (This is from June of this year.)
The Czech government has approved extending the life of a uranium mine as it moves to grow the country's nuclear energy program, even though environmentalists object to the plans.
Prime Minister Petr Necas also said Thursday the government wants to identify other suitable locations for uranium mining.
The mine in Rozna, around 160 kilometers (100 miles) southeast of Prague, produced some 224 metric tons of uranium last year and is the only such mine in Central Europe.
And this bolsters the argument for nuclear energy there and potentially provides jobs.
So now we know about the Czechs. Add the country to the plus column.
How did artsy people get the term “bohemian” attached to them? Because starving artists in 19th century France settled into cheap housing otherwise occupied by gypsies- Romaniis – and the Romanii were generally believed to have come to France from the Bohemian section of Europe – what is now the western two-thirds of the Czech Republic. So there you go.

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