Environment Protection Plan:
Looking through this week’s New Zealand Herald, I just found a great letter to the paper, published on Monday, March 21, 2011. This letter is about the nuclear power issue which, really, the whole world faces right now, in the aftermath of the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power Plant.
This letter comes from the Associate Professor of Physics at New Zealand’s Auckland University, Peter Wills.
Professor Wills writes that all the world’s energy, around 15 terawatts of power, could, conceivably, be generated by 15,000 “supposedly ‘carbon-zero’ nuclear plants, each producing one gigawatt” of power, but that this would mean that most people would have to live within about 50 kilometres of three or four of them, considering that they would have to be spaced about evenly all around the useable land areas of the world, excluding remote desert areas, mountains and forests.
“Who would want to live that close to a nuclear power plant?”, you may ask. Every nuclear plant is at risk from earthquake damage, and tsunami risk, and we have all seen what has happened at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power Plant. And why should the nuclear option be at all considered by any country, when safe solar power is available to us?
Professor Wills explains how impractical the idea of building so many nuclear power plants would be, since a new nuclear plant would have to be built every day for the next 40 years to arrive at the point where there were enough nuclear power plants to supply the world’s energy, and that the process of commissioning new nuclear plants would continue even after this point, as the old plants would need to be decommissioned, taken down after their time, obviously for safety reasons.
Professor Wills concludes his letter to the NZ Herald by saying:
“Solar power shining on the earth is about 170,000 terawatts. So we need to harness only 0.008 per cent of it to keep up with human consumption.
We have to redirect the global economy to convert virtually all energy use to eco-friendly solar-based sources.The big reactor in the sky is the only one we need”, says Professor Peter Wills.