Ireland is a long way from deciding whether to use nuclear energy to help supply our electricity in a manner that is low in emissions while being affordable and reliable. But what would be the relevant details if Ireland decides to proceed with a nuclear plant?
The world’s traditional means of generating energy have been intensely polluting, expelling millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere with scant regard for the consequences. Ireland has been complicit in this: Moneypoint, the coal-powered station in Co Clare, releases 3.12 million tonnes of CO2 in the atmosphere annually.
But as Moneypoint comes to the end of its operational life cycle, it is time to have a serious discussion about Ireland’s energy future, and nuclear power needs to be part of that discussion.
OPINION: Fukushima frightens us all but mankind has never walked away from a technology, no matter how hard it is to master, write DAVID SOWBY and FRANK TURVEY
EVER SINCE a human being first lit a fire, humankind has striven to harness the forces of nature in ways that yielded benefits but which also carried risks. As civilisation progressed, the benefits of any particular advance became more substantial but, by and large, so also did the risks.
But from the boiler explosions of the 19th century, through hydroelectric dam collapses, mining and oil-rig disasters, train and air crashes, Bhopal and Chernobyl, the response of humanity has never been to abandon a technology, but to derive lessons from what has happened so as to make the benefits available more safely in the future.
Thus will it be also with nuclear power in the aftermath of the Fukushima accident.