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Andrew Pollock

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Thursday, 31 August 2006

A ramble about alternative energy and world affairs

Well John Howard said he wanted to start a nuclear debate in Australia. Seems it has already started on Planet Linux Australia.

I figure I might as well have a meandering blog post about alternative energy and current world events, since I've just been immersing myself in the best news I can obtain with my crappy cable package in a country not renowned for its awareness of world affairs.

Firstly, since there's been talk about nuclear power, I'd like to offer my thoughts on Iran, and how it's sounding like Iraq all over again.

People are getting in a flap about Iran enriching uranium. Iran says that they don't want "the bomb", they only want nuclear power to meet their energy demands. Now if this is true, then surely should applaud a country that sits on a chunk of the Middle East's oil reserves looking to use something other than oil for its energy needs. I for one don't know if you need to "enrich" uranium to use it for a nuclear reactor, or whether it's good enough "as is".

But let's just assume that Iran's intentions are as they have said, then it's going to be Iraq all over again. The US said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The US is saying Iran is enriching uranium for the purposes of making a bomb. So far the former claim hasn't been proven, so what's to say the latter is true either?

Let's say the nuclear debate in Australia determines that it'd be a good a thing for Australia to go nuclear. How is Australia enriching uranium for electricity generation any different to Iran doing it? (Other than Australia is in the Coalition of the Willing, and Iran is in the Axis of Evil).

Speaking of Iran being in the Axis of Evil, how is Iran supplying weapons to Hezbollah fundamentally any different to the US supplying weapons to Israel? Oh, and is anyone allowed to criticise Jewish people without being called anti-Semitic? Since when is invading a neighbouring country considered okay? I am so glad Australia is an island nation. These countries with land borders, sheesh...

Anyway, back to alternative energy. I'm a greenie, (with a lowercase "g") so I'm open to nuclear power, but it does frighten the willies out of me, with things like Chernobyl. I'd never heard of a Pebble Bed Modular Reactor until Paul wrote of it. It certainly sounds safer than previous methods of nuclear reaction.

But of alternatives. Wind, for example, doesn't need to be big and arguably ugly. These guys in the UK have made a very sexy and quiet wind turbine. I don't know how it stacks up in terms of cost or output to the traditional three-bladed wind turbines like what I've photographed in Southern California, but they're supposed to be quiet, which is apparently one of the (many) arguments that landowners like farmers have against wind generation in general.

This Australian company has come up with a very small, but less sexy wind turbine, that I believe to be fairly cheap.

Finally, in terms of generation, and I've written about this before, but I find the Tower of Power to be a fascinating concept in natural energy generation.

Where am I going with this ramble? No idea. I do think rapidly developing countries like China should completely leapfrog over the era of oil and move to renewably generated electricity. Maybe they can get the manufacturing costs down of the equipment, and it'll be less of a big deal in terms of cost for the rest of the world to adopt it.

Whew. What a ramble. Don't start me on flushing toilets with drinking water.

[22:30] [opinion] [permalink]

Metros I've travelled on

With apologies to Martin

sydney cr hongkong san
	francisco hong
	kong kcr san francisco muni los
	angeles
Got at b3co.com!

Yeah, where is the VTA Light Rail?

[16:22] [meme] [permalink]