... Professor Philip Walton, (Emeritus Professor of Applied Physics, NUI, Galway, Moycullen, Co Galway) offered an alternative view to the "Windy Lobby", he would be classed as "heretic" by those with a vested interest in the "wind turbine".
Sir, – Your leader “Nuclear Sunset?” (September 23rd) begs a response.
With global warming and depleting fossil fuels, it is extremely unlikely that the world is about to turn its back on a safe, low-carbon, virtually sustainable source of base load electricity – nuclear power.
There are currently 440 nuclear reactors generating 15 per cent of the world’s electricity and currently 496 are planned or proposed. Pre-Fukushima this number was 478, showing no evidence of any retrenchment. A total of 29 countries have nuclear power and now 17 more have plans to join the club. These include Belarus, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Poland, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, an oil-rich country which sees the writing on the wall.
It is very unlikely that in Ireland, and elsewhere, renewables (primarily wind) will meet more than a small fraction of energy needs. Our plan is to get 40 per cent of our electricity from wind by 2020 but this presents major difficulties due to its intermittency; we get 12 per cent now. Denmark, world leaders in wind power for more than 30 years, only manages 9.7 per cent and it can get power from Norway, Sweden and Germany when the wind fails.
Even if we succeed in getting the 40 per cent, one must ask where does the remaining 60 per cent would come from?
Germany’s plans to withdraw from nuclear power by 2022 are seen by many to be political expediency by Angela Merkel. As a consequence it plans to open more coal plants and will import more electricity from France (primarily nuclear) and the Czech Republic (26 per cent nuclear). It is also estimated that Germany will generate about 40 million tonnes more carbon dioxide per year as a result.
We must have a proper and informed debate on the nuclear option for Ireland. – Yours, etc.,