Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Let's Turn Off the Lights!

As I was about to write about Nuclear and Wind Power today, I saw that Margaret Wente has beat me to it, in Today's Globe and Mail:

Suddenly, there are giant wind farms sprouting 30-storey turbines on our horizon. The wind company salesmen are knocking on doors trying to sign up the local landowners. They put a turbine in your field, and you get $7,000 a year for letting your wind blow through it...
But not everyone is happy. The problem is, wind turbines are massive pieces of industrial equipment and have to be hooked up to giant transmission lines in order to move the power from A to B...But the biggest problem with wind power isn't the aesthetics. It's the economics. Wind power is expensive and subsidized. And it isn't very reliable. That's because you can't always count on wind to blow... Wind power might make sense one day. But not yet...

The province of Ontario is still growing. The population is growing, industrial sector is expanding and the economy is booming. The problem is, currently we import much of our electrical power from US because we can't always supply our own. In about 5 years, we have to import perhaps more than half the power we need!

What should we do?

- During the power outage of 2003, we learned that we can conserve up to 40% of our power. Why not try that again?

- Wind power, combined with solar panels could increase our capacity to a great extent. Perhaps if conservation were an option, "green energy" would be the perfect solution!

- Environmental Assessments are underway for another giant nuclear plant in Ontario. This giant power plant will double or triple our capacity. So, we can all indulge, carefree!

Based on what I hear from the policy experts, conservation requires a long-term cultural shift. As a result, "green energy" (solar and wind) won't be sufficient for our near future. Nuclear seems to be the logical option.

- Ontario has been using nuclear energy for over 30 years.
- The reactors used in Ontario are safe and there is no risk of an "accident", as people think.
- Nuclear power is clean, efficient and fairly economic for Canada.
- We need to bury the waste in heavy steel-concrete tunnels, 1000 m below the surface of the earth.

I attended a presentation by Ontario Power Generation last week, I realized how sensitive the technology (esp. waste disposal option) is. That was when I got a chill, thinking that Iran might soon start such operation.

The truth is that no matter how much steel and concrete you use and how deep you go, radioactive waste will never be environmentally friendly.

Based on our 50-years old engineering knowledge of nuclear power generation, we think what we do is safe and risk-free. However, considering the fact that it takes millions of years for nuclear waste to neutralize, who knows what else is in store for us to learn?!

So, what do we do? Wind farms are ugly, solar power is not reliable and we don't care about conservation!

So, Ontario, let's bring'em those nukes!


At 10:52 a.m., Blogger Bahar said...

Also read this article (by Howard Learner)


At 1:22 p.m., Blogger Bahar said...

Just Came in:


At 1:44 p.m., Anonymous Niloofar said...

This was really intresting ....

At 4:40 p.m., Blogger peyman said...

sale no shoma ham mobarak, inshallah sale no yek khorde losen up kon, adam inja nafasesh migire enghadr bahsa jeddy hastan! :)


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