Post by Dave Homewood on Jun 13, 2012 1:12:50 GMT 12
New Zealand is currently marking 25 years since declaring itself nuclear free. It was a bold move for a small nation to take on the bigger Allies, shunning them in a way, and causing political rifts with Allies that have caused many years worth of problems, that only now seem to be smoothing out properly.
So do you think it was worth it?
Were you an anti-nuclear campaigner back before the ban, or at least a supporter of the campaign?
It was a nice speech by Lange at The Oxford Union, he was good at oratory, but the principle was seriously flawed and achieved precisely nothing other than making NZ a bit of a pariah in terms of our allies. While I had a fundamental objection to a country which claims to be the worlds' greatest democracy [The US] objecting to another democracy making its own decisions, the fact is that that decision by NZ made no difference whatsoever to anything, and in many ways cost us millions. The behaviour of the US was childish in the extreme!
I knew NZ Defence people who were in Washington DC at the time we officially became downgraded from allies to friends, but the real effect, which the Government never mentioned, was that our sources of spares for our American aircraft had previously been through the US AF and USN and that stopped and we had to go to the manufacturer direct with consequent massive increases in costs.
The anti-nuclear argument was always more paranoia based than factual IMHO!, though the reaction of the US was petty-minded beyond belief. The area of Washington DC where all the 'suits' live is called "Foggy Bottom" and was never more appropriate.
As above. Looked good and sounded good, but I don't think it actually achieved much in a practical sense that mitigated the costs it entailed. Besides which, NZ isn't technically nuclear free anyway if nuclear technology applications are taken into account (I used to work with one of them, the stuff really does glow in the dark! ;D).
And I suspect it made no difference at all to us being targetted by Soviet SLBM's as some claimed. I've no doubt the Sov's would have zapped us just-in-case if it had ever come to it.
Post by skyhawkdon on Jun 13, 2012 10:25:34 GMT 12
NZ doesn't need nuclear power, we have so much undeveloped hydro, wind and geothermal resource (for the same reasons we don't need to build any more gas, oil or coal burning power stations!).
The choice is simple, do we want a nuclear or carbon emitting thermal plant or a few more dams or wind farms? I'd prefer a few more dams which also create fantastic recreational areas (just look at how Cromwell has boomed on the back of the Clyde dam and Lake Dunstan). Unfortunately the NIMBYs don't want anything, but still expect the lights to stay on!
Post by Dave Homewood on Jun 13, 2012 10:42:07 GMT 12
Yes, I agree with that. For me Nuclear power is way down the list of options. I'd rather a few more dams any day. They do alter rivers a bit, but imagine how altered the rivers and everything else would be if we had a Fukushima situation.
My main regret about the nuclear free status is I never had the chance to ever see an aircraft carrier come into our ports. I'd love to see that.
New Zealand doesn't need nuclear power, as has been pointed out. We have the means to carry on the way we are, despite the head in the sand attitude of the Greens who would have us all back in caves based on their totally unrealistic arguments, none of which they personally conform to!
David Lange was good at talking, very good, and he was lightning fast with his repartee and some truly brilliant one-liners but his judgement was seriously flawed as witnessed by his flying the old canard of New Zealand's place in the world being much greater than it was, or is today!
I guess you had to be there, but the response from the US, the most powerful country in the world then and now, to one of the most insignificant, was positively hysterical. Its view of course was that NZ had to be shown who was boss, but the real fear was that NZ would start an epidemic of countries declaring themselves nuclear-free thus leaving the US Navy with fewer options. That didn't happen of course, except for a couple of countries which were as immaterial to world affairs as we were.
Given that US reaction then, I would be very wary of the current enthusiasm for a free-trade agreement between NZ and the US. The Agricultural sector in the US is fiercely protected and subsidized, and you can bet your boots they won't make any real concessions to NZ. America gets what America wants!
Post by ngatimozart on Jun 13, 2012 13:45:30 GMT 12
I agree with most of the comments above. The US Secretary of State Schultz did more to galvanise the NZ public behind the nuclear free stand than any other actor. If the US had made it's displeasure known and left it at that then things would have settled down quietly and the support for the legislation would have died a natural death after a few years. However that didn't happen and the US bullying of NZ galvanised Kiwi public support behind something that had a minority of support, to a point now that no pollie will dare reverse that legislation. Yes we paid a price but in the long term it gained us some respect in other parts of the world which have helped us economically.
I agree with Phil on the TPP Trade deal. A FTA with the US would do us far more harm than good. There would be nothing in it for us and it would end up costing us big time. If I say anymore it'll start getting political, but look at how the US drug commpanies are trying to hamstring Pharmac because Pharmac buy generic drugs where they can which are a lot cheaper than the brand name products of the US drug companies.
Imagine something happened to the plant,it would wipe out a big chunk of what is already a small country.
That's why some South Islanders reckon if you're gonna build one a volcanic cone on the Auckland isthmus is an ideal location. It being closest to the largest concentration of energy consumers & what not
I think Phil nailed it too, but I think we need to stay nuclear free - at least in terms of power. The biggest draw back is the cost; most people think it promises cheaper power; not here unfortunately. In fact, back in the 60s and 70s the govt investigated the options and decided against a power station here. We don't have the infrastructure, nor do we have the knowledge, nor the demand for that matter.
The other big question is, how do we dispose of the spent fuel rods? Three options, ship them overseas, bury them or dump them at sea? None of these options are worth considering. Sweden has elected to shut down its nukes; unfortunately the legacy, apart from disused power stations that will sit unused and cost the government millions per year is the miles of tunnels under Stockholm harbour full of waste. Not worth it.
"Those who cannot remember the pasta are condemned to reheat it..."
Post by ngatimozart on Jun 13, 2012 18:31:38 GMT 12
Once they solve the fusion problem we'll have unlimited power, but until then we have to use what we have and present nuclear technology using fission is not the way to go for reasons already cited. The fuel required for fusion is hydrogen the end product helium and the by product oxygen because the initial fuel is water.