Thorium has the power to transform our energy
by ANTHONY TREWAVAS
Nuclear power need not be a threat, says Anthony Trewavas
Use of thorium instead of uranium in reactors can allay virtually all public concern over weapons proliferation, radioactive pollution, toxic waste and fuel that is costly and complicated to process.
Thorium is the most abundant, most readily available, cleanest and safest energy source on earth; yet it remains unknown by both the public and politicians. Novel reactor design, the liquid fuel thorium reactor (LFTR), uses thorium fluoride as both coolant and fuel. It has enormous advantages over the use of...
Only nuclear power ticks all the boxes
THE Scottish Government has ambitious plans for spending vast sums of money on huge numbers of wind turbines and experimental wave and tidal energy projects.
But there is a growing realisation that this simply pushes up electricity bills while reducing energy security and making it increasingly likely that the lights will go out.
This might be feasible when it is English consumers who are bearing the brunt, but an independent Scotland would be crippled by shouldering the costs of renewable energy alone.
With this in mind, we should ask what has driven the Scottish Government to...
Scientific Alliance Slams Audit Scotland Renewables Report
Scientific Alliance Scotland has questioned whether Audit Scotland is giving value for money to Scottish taxpayers after reviewing its report on Renewable Energy published last week. The Alliance has called the report “complacent and anodyne” and is highly critical of the partisan nature of the Audit Scotland advisory group.
Scientific Alliance Scotland Chairman Professor Tony Trewavas said: “Far from being the thorough and forensic dismemberment of current Scottish Government renewables energy policy which it should be, this report is very disappointing....
The Costs of Wind Energy
There are costs and benefits to everything in life. The costs of wind energy are high and the benefits few. Every country needs a cheap, reliable supply of electricity and wind energy is neither. Cheap-because money spent on expensive electricity is not available to spend on education, health, infrastructure. Cheap- because electricity is essential for heating, cold houses kill every winter. Cheap-because the price of our goods in global markets is underpinned by electricity price. Cheap-because only a vibrant, creative economy using the cheapest energy will survive in an uncertain future....
Fracking is more efficient than wind farms
by DR JACK PONTON
IT IS an article of faith among the environmental lobby that wind energy is benign and undisruptive, and that obtaining shale gas by hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) is damaging and disruptive.
The claims that fracking causes earthquakes, wholesale pollution of watercourses and inflammable tap water are easily dismissed by impartial examination of actual experience. The technique has been in use for decades in the United States, and to a lesser extent in the UK. None of these things have happened. Activists have simply alighted on an unfamiliar...
Cruachan - Double or Quits?
The reports that the Scottish Government is encouraging a doubling of the installed generating capacity at the Cruachan pumped storage station in the expectation that this will increase our hydro output does not suggest that Scotland's energy policy is getting back on the rails. There seems to be no limit to the additional burdens the Scottish administration is prepared to load on the electricity consumer while denying him a secure electricity supply.
The point needs to be made that a pumped storage station does not produce energy; it consumes it and over 20% of the energy used in...
Ten myths concerning nuclear power
by KEITH BURNS
Fruits of modern technology in power plants should be embraced for the good of all, says Keith Burns
Civil nuclear power’s historical links with nuclear weapons (and Chernobyl, Fukushima and suchlike) colours our perceptions of this important source of energy. We don’t eschew high explosives for their many valuable uses because they can kill people when abused. We keep driving cars despite the daily death toll.
The fruits of technology always present us with the Faustian dilemma of use for good or evil. The safe application of knowledge depends on the...
The Difficulty of Making Money from Wind Generated Electricity
Although he has not recently described Scotland as “the Saudi Arabia of renewables”, Mr Salmond and other supporters of his wind energy policies are still claiming that it is possible for us make money selling renewable energy to the rest of the world, as Saudi Arabia does with its oil.
Any comparison with Saudi Arabia is self evidently silly. That country produces about 10 million barrels of oil per day. In energy terms this means that their energy output is at a rate equivalent to about 25kw per head of population. Meeting the SNP’s target of “100%...
We need a standing commission on electricity
by COLIN GIBSON
There is confusion regarding the review of the commercial and financial arrangements of electricity supply.
Whereas generating plant provides energy [MWh], it must in addition provide power capacity [MW] essential to maintain security of supply at times of peak demand. The current market arrangement deals in energy only. So it is not surprising that considerable concern is now being expressed about the ability of this arrangement to deliver sufficient power capacity at times of peak demand and ensure security of supply. With large subsidies for wind generation, the...
Waterfront property The Economist, 5th July 2007
The folly of building on floodplains
IT HAS been a strange spring, even by British standards. After sweltering through the hottest April for over a century and shivering during an unusually cold May, the country was deluged by the wettest June since records began. Up to seven people died in the subsequent floods; 27,000 homes and 5,000 businesses had to be evacuated. Firemen and paramedics described the rescue efforts as the biggest-ever in peacetime. Insurers gave warning that the final bill would be more than £1 billion.
As the waters began to drain away and the...