Friday, 4 January 2008

More nuclear deployment - we're getting closer

The expected launch of a new wave of UK nuclear power plant deployment is sparking acts of desperation from anti-nuclear critics and activists.

Dan at Idaho Shamizdat has an informative post on the anticipated UK announcement regarding a renewed nuclear energy programme.

Almost just as fast, over at the Oil Drum: Europe, Chris Vernon submitted this post about anti-nuke David Fleming's 'concerns' about 'peak uranium'. I gather from this post and the subsequent comments that Fleming is referencing 'Storm and Smith', a uranium / energy balance analysis that has been discredited by, among others Australian, Professor Martin Sevior. There's plenty of economically recoverable uranium out there. For details, see the links below.

These posts and this argument are more good news for nuclear power for a variety of reasons:
  • First, the world is progressing still further through anti-nuclear rhetoric and what I see as pretty much 'junk' science (or at least poor quality / biased science) by, for example Storm Smith. First it was safety. Then following decades of operational excellence, that was grudgingly conceded. Then it was cost and construction time, but now with the true capabilities of renewables becoming better understood, the undefinable lead time of 'clean coal' and the ever increasing costs of gas and oil; nuclear plants on a 10 to 15 year horizon are looking more desirable. So now we have the 'peak uranium' argument. Recall my 'stages of grief' post? This is bargaining, simply a stage in the process.
  • Next, I note the quick rebuttals from the scientific and engineering community. I'm not so certain this would have been as swift or thorough in previous decades. Maybe the Internet has provided a medium where scientific information can be presented fully, without interruption, to a broad and interested audience. If so, this change seems to have liberated individuals who would have previously shared their ideas in papers buried in scientific journals, to close fiends over dinner or via brief chats at cocktail parties. In any case, this is another tick in the 'good' column.
  • Finally, I note the interest level in general. For good or bad, a rapidly growing number of people are interested in nuclear power again and are seeing fit to actually discuss different issues. I look forward to a day [I don't think we're quite there yet] where indignation, and arrogant, dismissive attitudes are, themselves, no longer considered valid anti-nuclear arguments by the general public.
Charles Barton at Nuclear Green shared some information about the further debunking of Storm and Smith [not on his blog - yet. I received it semi-directly]. The below links are courtesy of his research.

For more information:

Storm and Smith debated by Prof Servior and Dr. A. Flintly

Another Oil Drum Post - M. Sevior

U of Melbourn article

Lifecycle of Nuclear Power

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