Sunday, January 23, 2005


There are countless ways to show how China is climbing the world's economic ladder, hurdling developed countries in its path, but few are more pronounced than its rush into nuclear energy - a technology that for environmental, safety and economic reasons most of the world has put on hold. Current plans in China call for new reactors to be commissioned at a rate of nearly two a year between now and 2020.

Planners predict a quadrupling of nuclear output to 16 billion kilowatt-hours by 2010 and a doubling of that figure by 2015. And with commercial nuclear energy programs dead or stagnant in the US and most of Europe, Western and other developers of nuclear plant technology are lining up to sell reactors and other equipment to the Chinese, whose purchasing decisions alone will determine in many instances who survives in the business.

China still derives as much as 80 per cent of its electricity from coal. The problem with nuclear power, some experts say, is that the country's energy needs are so immense that even the enormous expansion program will do little to offset the skyrocketing demand for power. China's eight nuclear reactors now in operation supply less than 2 per cent of current demand. By 2020, assuming the national plan is fulfilled, nuclear energy would still meet less than 4 per cent of demand.

There has been almost no public discussion of the merits and risks of nuclear energy, as the Government strictly censors news coverage of such issues. But critics of the program question whether such a small pay-off warrants exposure to the risk of catastrophic failures, nuclear proliferation, terrorism and the still unresolved problems of radioactive waste disposal. "We don't have a very good plan for dealing with spent fuel, and we don't have very good emergency plans for dealing with catastrophe," said Wang Yi, a nuclear energy expert at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. "The nuclear interest group wants to push this technology, but they don't understand the risks for the future. They want to make money. But we scientists, we want to take a very comprehensive approach, including safety, environment, dealing with waste and other factors, and not rush into anything."

Chinese nuclear operators scoff at such concerns. "In China we have state-owned power companies, whereas abroad they have private companies," said Yu Jiechun, an engineer at the China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Co. "It's not a matter of someone's profit here."......

More here


Neil Craig has been having a bit of success in getting the MSM to publish his letters. This one in "The Independent" (widely known as "The Subservient") is good:


Martin Parkinson (letter, 18 January) acknowledges that we need nuclear power if we are to avoid massive blackouts but says that, for reasons undisclosed, new reactors can only be a short-term solution. May I make the alternative case, accepted by the peoples of France, Russia, China, Japan and India among others?

We have sufficient known resources of uranium to keep current nuclear generation going for 4.5 billion years. Nuclear power has a safety record far surpassing that of any other major world industry. Since the 43 deaths at Chernobyl there have been four accidental deaths, all in Japan, in an industry that provides 20 per cent of the world's electricity. By comparison, with coal, we tolerate over 100,000 deaths from black lung and emphysema every year. High-level reactor waste amounts to only a cubic metre per reactor year. Because of the short half-life inherent in high radioactivity it is, in 50 years, normally down to the level of the ore it was mined from.

It is the only possible system which can permanently generate enough to give everybody in the world the amount of power, and therefore a substantial fraction of the standard of living, we currently enjoy. This would take 5,500 reactors, which if mass produced would be very much cheaper than the current bespoke system. World-wide waste over 50 years would be equivalent to a single cube 65 metres on a side.

If allowing all our fellow members of the human race a decent standard of living were considered desirable, and I so consider it, a permanent commitment to expanded nuclear power would be an absolute requirement.


Neil has also been taking the Greenies on over economic growth. The letter below made it into "The Scotsman" on 21st.

For the Green Party spokesman to accuse the Executive of being to active in pursuing growth (letter 17th Jan) is a bit like accusing our national football team of being to successful.

World average growth this year is expected to be 5%, with Asia pushing up the average & Europe & Africa holding it down. Scotland will be lucky to achieve 2% & will certainly manage less than England.

The reason for this is that governments in Holyrood, Westminster & Brussels practice a dilute version of the anti-technology, nanny statist & anti-capitalist policies which, in a pure version, form the subtext to almost all green Party policies.

He hits a better note in saying that the pursuit of happiness is more important than wealth. However such, fairly imprecise, methods of measuring as exist show, as a recent Economist report detailed that the happiest nations (Ireland & Switzerland) are those where freedom & enterprise are acceptable & the most unhappy are those where it is not (Zimbabwe & Haiti). Happiness, freedom & economic success are closely linked & that is the path we should choose. To quote Mr Burt Rutan, the builder of the private enterprise spaceship "see what free men can do" - a sentiment which would have Green members calling for more government controls.


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

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