Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Friday funnies, mostly

47 Responses

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  • BenWilson,

    I can't think why anyone outside of NZ gives a stuff whether we use Hydro or Nuclear as our low-carbon-emissions alternative. I think for Oz and the US they're really driving at the no nuke weapons policy and see nuclear power as a wedge they could drive in here. But as you say, I bet they don't really give it much thought most of the time, and plugging nuclear is really about justifying why they have so much of it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    I'm not opposed to Nuclear Power per se. But why not make it a condition that the countries that sell the uranium have to take back the nuclear waste? That might solve part of the problem.

    The Aussies could build a new Ayers Rock ....

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I think for Oz and the US they're really driving at the no nuke weapons policy and see nuclear power as a wedge they could drive in here. But as you say, I bet they don't really give it much thought most of the time, and plugging nuclear is really about justifying why they have so much of it.

    Meh... I'm not convinced Australia and the US even really give that much of a shit about our 'iconic' nuclear weapons policy. I just have to wonder if among all the hot air around 'climate change', anyone is going to be raising the subject with Hu Jintao? Or is China's frankly appalling environmental record another one of those pesky 'sensitivities' we avoid at all cost?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    i do hope colin the kitten will be supervising said draw
    an official adjudicator with claws is always an asset to any write in complaints ;)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 527 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    and worth $2500 if you don't include the copy of Vista ....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Smith,

    Yeah Craig, the 'Nuclear Power alternative' statements from George Bush are probably just a broadside at the Chinese who are building coal-powered stations every other day. The US certainly wasn;t thinking about NZ. But we do need debate on how we progress in our power generation neeeds. The Green's and other 'parties' to this must be willing to compromise our environment at acceptable levels.

    Since Jan 2007 • 150 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

    There are a whole series of reasons why nuclear - doesn't make sense for NZ. Sometime this month or October the final version of NZ Energy Strategy will be released - that gives a full range of option - nuclear is at the bottom of the list.

    Where there are already nuclear power plants some argument can be made for keeping them in the short term* but solar power is increasingly becoming a viable option for large scale systems.

    In both Australia and Algeria there are 150MW systems going in right now and in Germany (not the sunniest place) there is a great solar power success story to tell.

    Ironically half of the U.S uranium supplies come from Russia at present. This is very convenient stockpile and can't last as the Russians may decide not to be so generous to the U.S.

    To get enough for uranium for 1 plant for 1 year requires around 50 tons (1300mw example BTW would be 28% of NZ's current capacity) This would need at least 500,000 tons of ore to be processed as the general level is 0.01% or less in Australia. Consequently there is huge energy consumption just to get the fule - not to mention environmental damage.

    Both the UK and the U.S have roadmaps for non nuclear future available if they want to check that out.

    I have also linked to a series of studies on the risks around using nuclear power.

    why nuclear power doesn't helop with global warming

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 368 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

    For those who are in a hurry - here is the conclusion of US study called
    Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free
    A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy

    Central Finding
    The overarching finding of this study is that a zero-CO2 U.S. economy can be achieved within the next thirty to fifty years without the use of nuclear power and without acquiring carbon credits from other countries. In other words, actual physical emissions of CO2 from the energy sector can be eliminated with technologies that are now available or foreseeable. This can be done at reasonable cost while creating a much more secure energy supply than at present. Net U.S. oil imports can be eliminated in about 25 years. All three insecurities – severe climate disruption, oil supply and price insecurity, and nuclear proliferation via commercial nuclear energy – will thereby be addressed. In addition, there will be large ancillary health benefits from the elimination of most regional and local air pollution, such as high ozone and particulate levels in cities, which is due to fossil fuel combustion.

    23 page version here

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 368 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    Thanks for the observations about the media's angle on this.

    The reporting yesterday, in both print and TV media, was frankly pathetic.

    I was given the distinct impression they were looking for another stick to beat Labour over the head with (or at least to retrieve a couple of old sticks: that Labour is anti-American and hostile to Australia too just for good measure). But they couldn't even muster the energy to assert that either the US or Australia really gave a damn about New Zealand's views on energy policy either way.

    What was completely lost from view was the basic (but very important) idea that sovereign states can have differences of opinion on something without that constituting a major falling out or an "adversarial stance".

    It's interesting that disagreements with the US are always framed in terms of New Zealand's departure from/criticism of some US policy, rather than vice-versa.

    I'm yet to be convinced that the "closer relationship with our traditional allies" promoted in some quarters is nothing more than "agree with our traditional allies without a second thought."

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    <blockquote>I'm not convinced Australia and the US even really give that much of a shit about our 'iconic' nuclear weapons policy.</blockquote>

    I'm sure they don't, much in the same way that we don't give much of a shit about many of their internal affairs. But we do have an opinion on them, and that could be reported as a 'controversy' if the media is scraping the bottom of the barrel. Any defiance is a threat to total dominance, so they have to at least act like they care to keep NZ's pro-US demographic working against no-nukes becoming a non-controversial policy. But in practice friendly relations with NZ are a thousand times more important than having yet another port to dock nuclear armed and/or powered ships here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    The reporting yesterday, in both print and TV media, was frankly pathetic.

    But in all fairness, they do an excellent job the other 364 days of the year. Maybe they ate the shrimp the night before?

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Judd,

    Nice quick summary from The Island of Doubt (on ScienceBlogs.com) of why the author doesn't think that nuclear power is a panacea for climate change:
    http://scienceblogs.com/islandofdoubt/2007/08/what_have_you_got_against_nucl.php

    Perth • Since Nov 2006 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • Julian Melville,

    Cheers for the Kraftwerk links! That's made my Friday.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

    BTW -re comments on China

    China has 4 new Nuclear power plants in progress at the moment. The 3,610 MW capacity they are expected to generate is actually a good thing compared to if those plants were coal fired.

    Lingao 3, Lingao 4, Qinshan 2-3, and Tianwan-2

    China's record on hydro power isn't so good either. Edward Burtynsky's work shows that.

    The 3 Gorges dam has planned capacity of 18,200 MW (equivalent to 15 average nuclear plants) It is huge 3 Gorges project It is though the largest hydro project in the world - arguably the real long term costs (environmental & massive population relocation) are too high ($25b in construction as well.)

    India has 7 new nuclear plants that almost ready.
    Kaiga-3, Kaiga-4, Kudankulam-1, Rajasthan-5, Rajasthan-6, Kudankulam-2 and PFBR

    Since China and India are both catching up in overall energy use terms - I suspect that the US sees this as a good thing and nuclear probably does suit both of them - much as I dislike that answer.

    The U.S with 5% of the worlds population can no longer continue to use 25% of global oil production and 40% of the world’s gasoline.

    Energy use has to be looked at in relation to Oil as well.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 368 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    And uranium.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

    And uranium

    presume you mean supplies of the raw materials running down

    "The analysis of data on uranium resources leads to the assessment that discovered reserves are not sufficient to guarantee the uranium supply for more than thirty years".

    Need is to discover some more / whihc is unlikely.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 368 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Johnson,

    My wife is an electrical engineer who works in Electricity Generation planning for Large Power in Nz. She's also completing a PhD in the topic right now.

    She laughs at nuclear power in NZ, then gets stuck in to the uninformed who suggest it.

    3 major things:
    (1) Cost. Hugely expensive to set up and run, given the size of our country, power grid, and resources.

    (2) Earthquakes, risk, and risk. NZ and Japan have somewhat similar seismic profiles, even though their population leaves my Japanese friends wondering how we all stay sane in such a lonely place. Anyhow, everyone remember the quakes early this year in Japan? AND THE NUCLEAR POWER STATION THAT LEAKED? Nuff said.

    (3) NIMBY. NZers have major fits over WINDMILLs, for crying out loud. Imagine the public horror at having a reactor next door!

    Maybe the nuke power supporters could all band together, form a town, and have the generator there? That is, if they're comfortable with that....

    Auckland, mostly. • Since Nov 2006 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

    Roy Hemmingways reasons have already been linked to indirectly via the Greens by Russell. To recap he had 4 which are very similar

    The first problem is size. (NZ total needs 4500MW - typical Nuclear plant is 1200)
    Secondly, a nuclear plant runs flat out, it does not follow load up or down.
    Thirdly, from a cost standpoint, nuclear plants produce power about twice as expensively as the plants that have been built in New Zealand recently.
    And finally, nuclear really requires a whole industry to go along with it .

    On the size issue the standard answer is to build twin plants - say 2 x 1000 MW units side by side as they do in China now. Still not an option.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 368 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

    Maybe the nuke power supporters could all band together, form a town, and have the generator there? That is, if they're comfortable with that....

    Some people are

    I think perhaps the The New Zealand Atomic Energy Advocacy Council NZAEC
    might want to have one in Napier ?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 368 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    I suspect Oz has leverage for now with America because they got the most uranium and America don't want to see it all going to...China?
    Or, http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/2/story.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10462223
    And conspiracy alert, is there a link between securing the Aboriginal areas and high quality uranium extraction from those areas?

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    China has 4 new Nuclear power plants in progress at the moment. The 3,610 MW capacity they are expected to generate is actually a good thing compared to if those plants were coal fired.

    Until there's an accident (which would, I presume, be known as "The Pennsylvania Syndrome".)

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Maybe the nuke power supporters could all band together, form a town, and have the generator there? That is, if they're comfortable with that....

    Reminds me of a possibly apocryphal story: The software developers of a control system for a plant in the US all left town just before the system came online. It was suggested that all such developers should be contracted to live in the area just to ensure quality.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Jimmy Hayes,

    If anyone wanted a direct link to Roy Hemmingway (has it already been posted? No time for a close read), here you go.

    Mr. Hemmingway

    I just don't understand why we're even having this conversation.

    I'm very left socially, centrist for domestic economics, and reasonably to the right in international economics, so it's not like I'm a dirty, commie hippy - it's just that any suggestion we should adopt nuclear power is driven by the media (desperate for a conflict story) and/or people who haven't encountered the *overwhelming* reasons why there's no point even considering the option.

    Or - and I'm just guessing here - their first name is Garth. Where is he now, anyway? I miss the high blood pressure that his columns brought me.

    Since Apr 2007 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

    Garth has moved to Rotorua has promises to resume transmission soon.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 368 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    And conspiracy alert, is there a link between securing the Aboriginal areas and high quality uranium extraction from those areas?

    Well, I hazily recall that attempts to just grab the uranium directly had mixed results...

    Lyndon Hood has excelled himself

    Ooh, ta.

    I can recommend WinMorph to any PC users who want to play around with that kind of thing.

    And to anyone the videos don't work for, sorry and all but I'm currently blaming windows media player.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

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