Friday, June 8th 2012, 9:46 AM EDT
Is a nuclear renaissance around the corner?
It may just happen. For example, Japan has just announced its intention to restart some of their nuclear power plants (NPPs). France is planning to increase its electricity production by NPPs from currently 50% to 90% of its national needs. Pakistan, India and China are rapidly expanding their NPP construction programs. Even in the US, new NPPs are on the drawing boards and in the permitting stage.
The green ideology, first conjured by The Green Party in Germany a few decades ago, saw nuclear power as its anathema. With large deposits of coal, and cheap oil from the Mid-East, there was no shortage of electricity to drive the economy. Still, Germany built 17 NPPs which have provided steady power for the past four decades.
Then, in 2011, the earthquake and tsunami at Fukushima, Japan, caused some politicians to panic. Nuclear power plants were to be phased out and “green” power (from wind turbines and solar panels) was to replace their energy production. Indeed, Germany built thousands of wind turbines and the generous feed-in tariffs offered to private citizens had many invest in solar panels on their houses’ roofs. However, the demand for electricity could not be met. For example, during the last winter (2011/12), Germany needed to import substantial amounts of electricity from its neighboring countries, especially France and the Czech Republic; much of which was created by nuclear power. Now, even some German politicians talk about delaying the planned total NPP phase-out.
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From Anti-Nuke to Anti-Carbon
The green ideology was not satisfied with an anti-nuclear stance alone. With the UN’s and Al Gore’s help, it morphed into the anti-carbon (dioxide) hysteria of the last decade. Their claims of impending global disaster (from a run-away global warming supposed to be caused by carbon dioxide in the atmosphere) were making sure of that. Consequently, the anti-nuclear ideology morphed slowly into an anti-carbon ideology which is still widespread in the media to this day.
Despite the steadily increasing carbon dioxide levels in the air, global temperatures and sea levels have barely budged in recent years. Furthermore, with several harsh winters in Europe and Asia, and the Arctic ice sheet increasing by ~1,000,000 square kilometers during last winter, the Antarctic ice sheet growing rather than shrinking, and the polar bears and penguins doing just fine instead of dying out, all claimed by Gore and the IPCC’s models, the world is becoming a bit more skeptical, if not outright averse to the claims of an impending warming disaster.
The problem with ‘green electricity’ is its basic unreliability and negligible storage possibility. Without an ability to store that energy, for hours, days, weeks or months, it is not very helpful. Right now, the media are full of glowing reports such as ‘Germany Reaches Solar Power Generation Record,’ but such headlines are misleading.
The demand for electric power is not governed by the availability of sunshine. In fact, there is an inverse relationship. You want to turn on the lights at night, not during a bright day. Not only is the supply becoming critical at times, the cost of electricity in Germany and Denmark is among the highest in Europe. As could be expected, some large energy-using industries start leaving the country for “greener pastures.”
Green politics are still the rage, but seismic shifts are coming. Many people are finding out the hard way that the costs are not commensurate with the green promises. The true cost of “free” green energy is approximately20 times that of conventional electricity, whether paid for directly by the consumer or indirectly through tax subsidies.
One of the latest wrinkles in green politics is revising the definitions of what is ‘green.’ Most interestingly, previously despised hydrocarbons (do you remember the ‘carbon footprint’, and carbon-dioxide-climate-change-disaster-horror-scenarios?) are now becoming ‘green’ in the form of natural gas. Of course, that is a complete reversal of the ‘green’ anti-carbon ideology proclaimed until recently. In terms of carbon dioxide production, there is little difference between burning coal, oil or gas, not that it makes any difference to any ‘climate change’ anyway. The new mantra being deployed by politicians is ‘clean natural gas’ as opposed to ‘dirty coal.’ In truth though, with the appropriate use of well established technology, ‘dirty coal’ can produce electricity just as clean as ‘clean natural gas.’
Click source to read FULL report from Dr. Klaus L. E. Kaiser
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