Nuclear Power? Yes Please


The ‘Here’s How’ podcast.

Host William Campbell writes:

Do environmentalists have a blind spot?

Is there a carbon-free source of energy that could save us from climate change that we are ignoring irrationally?

Should Ireland embark on a programme of building a nuclear power stations?

Could they really provide a reliable stream of cheap, carbon-free, safe electricity? The Here’s How podcast investigates…

Listen here

Here’s How

26 thoughts on “Nuclear Power? Yes Please

  1. postmanpat

    Here’s why nuclear power is bad. We are hit with a Spanish flu like plague which wipes out half the population. The current drawn from the station drastically reduces, and because these power station relies on an even current draw because we still operate in an outdated economy where we need 2.4 children population growth because us humans are go gosh darn important. The station goes into meltdown and the survivors of whatever cataclysm gets radiation poisoning. In theory nuclear power is fine. as long as we keep drawing the power at a constant rate. Which no one can guarantee. coal stations can at least be switched off. Nuclear stations cant, and they melt down. and all that coal carbon will seem like ice-cream compared to the nasty radiation particles that will be released into the atmosphere.

    1. Alan

      what a ridiculous argument, you do realise that nuclear power plant designs have moved on since the 1970/80’s … designs have been built for nuclear reactors that 100% can not meltdown and for not being able to shut down or reduce the output that again is ridiculous. The answer is factory built modular nuclear reactors that can be chained together to create as much power as required. Have seen some excellent designs that use lead as the coolant and some that you don’t even have to refuel, you just replace the modular reactor after it is depleted it’s fuel reserve and I may add modern nuclear reactors actually use the waste produced to power the reactor now, so are extremely efficient

      1. postmanpat

        And if the power is suddenly not needed by consumers for whatever reason, (be it war, famine, decease, earthquakes. all that good biblical stuff) can the thing be shut down? or does it take 20 years to wind down the reactors safely? Or is it the usual baby boomer attitude of , “who cares if these yolks fall apart and poison the atmosphere? I wont be around ..” .
        Even if we build and run a nuke station that runs as efficiently and non pollution causing as promised (just like the Ringsend waste burning building and the port tunnel , right guys?) . It sends a message to every hack government out there in the developing world to just go ahead and build their own. I’m sorry, I just don’t trust in human nature to be responsible with this technology. I’m sure Fukushima was state of the art when it was built. lots and lots of backup gennys to appease the public should anything go wrong. Now I see some Japanese exec on Bloomburg TV going on about a 100 year plan to keep an artificial fridge going in the ocean that freezes the sea water around a failed reactor until a multigenerational operation cleans up the mess?. Hardly an elegant solution by any stretch of the imagination. But there he is on TV smiling and explaining the situation like its as good as sorted, ? Now Japan cant fail as a state ..ever, because if it does, the fridge fails and radioactive material will pollute the pacific ocean practically forever. So ..good luck Japan, ,I really mean it , for all our sakes.

        1. Alan

          You do realise that Nuclear power has saved around 1.8 million lives, I once too was anti-nuclear, but once you look at it objectively, it’s actually the only viable solution to climate change, acidification of the worlds oceans and energy poverty. . As I have said, I believe the answer lies in factory built modular nuclear reactors that are designed not to melt down, the keyword here is factory built, shipped across the world, can tackle both C02 emissions and energy poverty. Unfortunately renewables can’t as the battery tech is not good enough (I could also go on about the minerals needed to make the batteries, but I won’t), so require fossil fuel power plants running 24/7 as backup, and don’t try and say modern gas plants are clean, any fossil fuel burnt releases C02 emissions, so we need to stop burning them all together. You’re looking for a perceived threat that can be minimised completely when in actual fact we are facing a threat that could have the potential to wipe out mankind and most life on this planet if something isn’t done now.

          Just a note on why I mention energy poverty, I believe we can’t tackle climate change without tackling energy poverty, the developing world will continue to build fossil fuel power plants as long as they have no real alternative power production. It needs to be a world wide initiative on and while I am rabbiting on, we the west, need to start paying the developing world to start replanting rain forests and not just tell them “No you can’t cut them down”.

          1. postmanpat

            World wide initiative? This isn’t the united federation of planets. The EU is falling apart and UN is next. Everyone nation has always gone through spurts of hating each other for whatever reason, take your pick. And individuals are motivated by nationalism at worst and money at best. Corporate profits will motivate these power plants, it wont be for the “benefit of mankind ™” like the PR arm of the corporation will say. I’m not happy about CO2 producing power plants but the global population needs to reduce then we wont need more power in the first place. Our electrical products are supposed to run in less power anyway. But big Corporation need population growth to survive the world is broken, I don’t think it can ever be fixed and its going to be the end of humanity eventually, probably soon too. but at least the coal power plants wont explode and kill everything that is left.

          2. gingermcninja

            You seem to know a fair whack about nuclear power – certainly more than me – so maybe you could shed some light on the one aspect of nuclear power that concerns me: isn’t waste material a concern?

    2. edalicious

      “keep drawing the power at a constant rate”

      I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you don’t have even a passing familiarity with how a nuclear power plant functions.

  2. BMZeebub

    Or….. As an act of extreme patriotism, we sign solemn oaths that the last moments before we succumb to the cold clammy fingers of a Spanish flu induced rictus, we leave the immersion on.

  3. scottser

    ireland won’t get a nuclear reactor until denis o’brien says so. and even then it’ll be some rackety oul crock that he couldn’t flog to a tin pot country in the carribean. of course, we’ll have to pay over a thousand times its value for the use of it, be responsible for its maintenance and still not own it.

        1. V

          Oh Jaysus I know
          Great to have it in one big bite

          An Independent Journalist might spread that into 1500 words or more

  4. eoin

    Whenever someone argues for any form of energy source, I’m reminded of that scene from Naked Gun

    “Thank you. Mr. President, tonight I’m extremely proud to welcome our guests from the nation’s energy suppliers.
    First, representing the oil industry, head of the Society of Petroleum Industry Leaders, better known as SPIL, Mr. Terence Baggett.
    From the coal industry, Chairman of the Society for More Coal Energy, or SMOKE, Mr. Donald Fenzwick.
    From the nuclear industry, President of the Key Atomic Benefits Office Of Mankind, KABOOM, Mr. Arthur Dunwell”

    I suppose in 2019, you could add “President of the Irish Wind Energy Association, IWEA” but that’s not as funny, is it?

    1. Alan

      @Mike, I never said 100% safe, I said can not melt down. like everything risks are involved and accidents can happen, but modern designed nuclear reactors minimise risks and designed not to melt down, one of the more interesting ones is a lead cooled Nuclear reactor, shielding built into the coolant, ingenious really. And as I have said in an earlier comment, 1.8 Million lives have been saved thanks to nuclear energy production.

      1. postmanpat

        Alan, the plants are never switch off and “walk away” safe. They need manning and maintenance even when they are aren’t producing usable electric power , which means permanent political state continuity, which has never , ever been demonstrated in the history of mankind.

        1. Alan

          Ah yes all those Nuclear power plants that melted down during the collapse of the Soviet Union … oh wait, that didn’t happen, it was managed …

          1. postmanpat

            If the Russians are to be believed, because they are soooooooo trustworthy. We will never know about the near misses. There’s lakes all across Russia filled with nuclear waste from the missile building years. And those days are back baby!! The radioactive lake water is the only thing stopping the radioactive material drying up and blowing away in the wind. Oh and these lakes are drying up AND the soviet system is so secretive we don’t even know exactly what areas are effected . so I wouldn’t go swimming in any lake in Russia unless I was already dying from cancer already. I commend your faith in humanity. I hope you are right. But you know ,, hope in one hand and poo in the other and see which fills up first.

  5. Johnny Green

    Alan,completly absolutely agree and well said, its needs another look.We need lots energy for indoor farming and go ‘off grid’ whenever possible, using solar, hydro,co-gen,bio-mass,bring on some cheap and safe nuclear power.

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