Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Nukes or no nukes
When discussing sustainability, we will need to research and recommend what would be the best means of creating power within our context.
In NZ we use coal burning power stations like the one at Huntly, hydro-electric power stations, wind farms and some solar power. There is always a cost-benefit ratio to consider when deciding which method to use, and availability of suitable resources [e.g. coal, rivers, wind] to harness is one factor. The country also has to be able to afford to create the necessary infra-structure such as dams, power stations, etc.
NZ has a history of being anti-nuclear, but it is a political stance from decades ago and perhaps now might be a good time to reconsider whether or not nuclear power generation might be useful for us here. Technology and safety factors have improved and nuclear power generation doesn't produce greenhouse gases like burning coal does. It remains a tricky issue.
Several years ago I asked a similar question and I received some interesting replies from experts overseas. Read the post linked below and check out the comments to see what the people said. It shows there is usually more than one side to every story and more than one set of valid opinions.
Would nuclear power be a viable power source for NZ? [Herald Poll, comments]