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Wednesday, 23 July 2008

A New Source Of Energy?

What do North Korea, Malaysia and Iran have in common?

No, it's not 'violation of human rights', though that's a close answer. :)

Apparently folks, we are considering nuclear power as a future source of electricity energy.

It won't happen tomorrow; the fusion and fission of things are planned for beyond the year 2020.

But things are changing.

Bill Gates is no more the richest man in the world anymore; the title now goes to Warren Buffett.

In fact, my ole pal Bill has slid down to third spot, being beaten by Carlos Slim-Helu. For a brief period in 2007, the world's richest man was Mukesh Ambani.

Interesting (but useless) trivia: NONE of them own any oilfields. :)

But I digress. As usual.

Back to the issue, petrol prices are not what they used to be. You and I both know that. And not all of our electricity supply (contrary to popular opinion), comes from hydroelectric generation (which is of course, renewable).

Unfortunately, a lot of the electricity is produced using diesel. And with the hike in fuel prices, it's getting hard to maintain the same mode of power generation.

For those of you who don't know, the electricity tariffs were raised by Tenaga Nasional on the 1st of July.

Really, we can't go on building new dams. Even my colleague has been complaining about more and more dams being built in Sarawak, which is his native origin.

Firstly, a lot of land gets cleared in the process, disrupting the ecology - and by extension our natural heritage. Secondly, people get displaced.

Last but not least, the energy cannot be efficiently channelled from the source to the destination. Meaning, if it was generated in Bakun in Sarawak, it dissipates by the time it reaches Peninsular Malaysia because of the distance.

Hence the necessity for nuclear energy, which honestly, is not as dire and damning as it sounds. Everyone always thinks of Chernobyl and mushroom clouds upon the mention of 'nuclear' (or if George Walker Bush had his way, "new-killer").

France uses nuclear energy and the last time I was there, I didn't see anyone keel over and croak for no apparent reason. We can chill with the paranoia for now, if you don't mind.

BUT. And this is important.

We need to have efficient methods of disposing of the waste. Otherwise, it gets dangerous. I'd have more confidence in this new project if Pakatan Rakyat was at the helm.

But consistent with North Korea and Iran, we have our human rights violations. And of course, our token fanatic terrorists.

I doubt the world will stand by and bestow upon us their most benign smile and go-ahead nod.

7 comments:

Letting the time pass me by said...

Hopefully, if they really wabt to go with nuke, it will be in a far-far away area... at least it can minimize the impact if there is any incident...

Letting the time pass me by said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Me... Only Better said...

I wrote on this when Najib first blabbed abt it..pardon my heading though:(kalu rajin boleh carik kat my blog..heh heh)

Saturday, June 21, 2008
Oh, Just Shut the Fcuk Up Already Najib....and Go Pop a C4!
June 21, 2008 15:40 PM

Malaysia Prepared To Use Nuclear Energy If Oil Price Continues To Soar, Says Najib

(my vent in blue)

MARAN, June 21 (Bernama) -- The Government is prepared to use nuclear energy to substitute oil as a long-term alternative to produce electricity if fuel prices continue to surge in the global oil market.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak however said the government would first look for other alternative sources of power such as solar, hydro, mini-hydro, biomass and renewable energy source from garbage.

(Would? How many years behind are we? What is the gomen looking for? It is already in our faces. How much have we spent on research on alternative energy sources? How much have we invested? Pray tell me. It isn't something we can develop overnight, or solve overnight like disposing of helpless women. It took the developed nations years, decades...and only now we wanna "look" into it? Alah, just go away and disappear alreadylah...please Najib! WE HAVE NO CONCRETE LONG-TERM POLICY OR PLAN ON ANYTHING THESE DAYS, ONLY KNEE JERK REACTIONS AND "WHILE ON THE JAMBAN" EUREKA MOMENTS OUR LEADERS GET THEIR IDEAS TO RUN THE NATION FROM)

"We have to explore all alternative energy sources. Nonetheless, the prospect of Malaysia opting to nuclear technology cannot be discounted, only that we will look at other alternatives first," he told reporters after opening the Science Study Centre for Felda settlers' children and pupils from rural areas at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Jengka 2 here Saturday.

Najib said turning to nuclear energy was an option that cannot be ignored in the future as it was cheap, safe and did not burden consumers.

(Nuclear energy safe? In a banana republic of Barisan Najis where regulatory controls and enforcement is virtually non-existent? Can we even begin to imagine the nightmare scenarios? Bacalah wahai Najib :

...Nuclear energy is known as the "clean fuel" however it does not entirely justify this title. According to one website "In America the entire nuclear power industry generates approximately 2,000 tons of solid waste per year. In comparison, coal fired power produces 100,000,000 tons of ash and sludge annually, and this ash is laced with poisons such as mercury and nitric oxide. Industry generates 36,000,000 tons of hazardous waste, and the kind they make will be with us forever, not decaying away. Also, this waste does not receive nearly the care and attention in disposal that radioactive waste does." However, not every county follows such strict guidelines and the disposal of nuclear waste is a huge problem that does not only affect us but also future generations for thousand of years to come.

Countries who cannot afford strict disposal methods may use unauthorised methods of dumping the material especially as a means to save costs. There was lots of controversy in the 1990's about reports that Russia was dumping nuclear waste in the Arctic Ocean.

Many countries transport waste for other countries for disposal (such as Germany to England) and some people feel that this is not a safe way to manage waste. What is the solution though? If we are going to have nuclear energy surely it is better to transport and dispose of the waste at a cost rather than using methods of cheap disposal that harm the environment? Countries who have the need to use nuclear energy should also have the capacity to dispose of it safely. Then maybe it can be called a "clean energy"...)

More here.

And here.

And here in this Greenpeace report.)

"Using nuclear as a substitute to fuel however depends on the government's decision as the transition to nuclear energy will incur high costs to develop the infrastructures and facilities," he said. Launching the electricity safety awareness campaign in Temerloh recently, TNB vice-president (distribution) Ab'llah Mohd Salleh had said the utility giant was prepared to use nuclear energy to replace oil.

He had said nuclear was suitable to generate electricity for the future to tide over with the depleting oil resources worldwide.

"TNB will take about 15 years to develop the infrastructures to use nuclear energy and to find suitable sites," he said.

-- BERNAMA

(Over my dead body I hope....whylah don't you invest OUR precious billions to harness the most easily available, clean and SAFE alternatives available duh! Sun, wind, water, tide. We have them ALL. But zilch has been spent on seriously expanding research and developing practical technology. All the monies embezzled by the corrupt leaders instead of going towards grants to our universities. You guys will be dead in 20 years, but my kids and their kids will have to live with the hazardous waste and nightmare resulting from your dumkopf ad hoc policies).

"...there is still no demonstrated method for isolating nuclear waste from the environment for adequate time periods." Greenpeace

So many other alternative energy sources that provide clean and renewable energylah...in this day and age...and we are still thinking nuclear??

More on alternative energy sources here.

Crankshaft said...

Found your post:

Oh, Just Shut the Fcuk Up Already Najib....and Go Pop a C4!

Love the title! :)

You have raised some pertinent points - like why the stupid government hasn't conducted more research on alternative energy and earlier.

Living on the equator, we have plenty of sunshine, so I'd have expected more research on solar energy. I know for a fact that Australia has done quite a bit.

I can't comment on the wind though. The Netherlands has used windmills for ages and they've converted it to wind turbines.

However, we need huge quantities of electricity and the wind and sun just won't cut it.

And don't get me started on biomass.

Nuclear generation, on the other hand, produces copious amount of energy with very little "raw material".

Perhaps it could be considered dangerous because it needs expert monitoring and technically sound people to keep it running. Otherwise, we could have Chernobyl all over again. That was nasty.

Crankshaft said...

Meh. I didn't see the link to Alternative Energy News on your site. There are some really great ideas in there.

Malaysia has a lot of factories in concentrated areas - we're cheap Asian labour after all, so we need a lot more electricity than some of those western countries.

We've had very poor planning, and I'd say the easiest (and possibly cheapest, if we don't dispose of waste properly) way out is nuclear energy.

TheWhisperer said...

I am not against nuclear plant here. I am more against the people who come out with this proposal.

First we really have to look into their primary motive. Then professionalism plays an important role when we talk about handling nuclear plant.

For that reason, it's definite a no-go for this country esp with their tidak-apa attitude coupled with their zest to corrupt.. all these may turned out to be another white elephant.

I would say 'complete bakun first and then only talk about this'. Bakun is almost grey turning white elephant soon

Crankshaft said...

I agree, Whisperer. Bakun has been a complete screw-up. The government is incompetent when it comes to proper administration.