Reader feedback: The cleanest fuel, Volume 11, Number 9, March 7 - March 13, 2005
It is misleading to say that nuclear power plants generate too much nuclear waste and that there is nowhere to get rid of it. Some pretty fail-safe methods of disposal have been developed for the comparatively small amounts of waste.
All forms of electricity generation have their problems. The carbon dioxide produced by the burning of fossil fuels is causing catastrophic global warming.
Coal generation has the added problem of the toxic nature of the ash waste being far greater in volume than the waste produced by the generation of nuclear power and furthermore not having any half-life in its toxicity.
Hydroelectric power can have serious downsides too, such as silting of watercourses and other effects on surrounding ecosystems. And what about the consequences of any terrorist attack against some of the world's hydroelectric dams causing catastrophic failure?
Wind power and solar energy can only relieve [the energy problem] to a minor extent. Both of these sources only provide us with additional sources of generation. They cannot be considered replacements for non-renewable energy sources because of the intermittent nature of their availability. When the wind doesn't blow or with the sun setting at night people are still going to want electricity.
I can see no reason why Slovakia shouldn't continue with a programme of nuclear power generation provided stringent safety procedures are adhered to and that plans for the disposal of waste are well thought out. I do think Austria's objections are poorly thought out and largely based on emotion. No matter from what source our electricity comes from, we waste far too much of it. I have no admiration for people who choose to illuminate their front driveways all night with tungsten filament lighting, or who have to have chilled water to hand at all times.
Switch it off! Action like that will go a long way to solving many of our energy problems.
14. Mar 2005 at 0:00