I recently spent some time looking at the projected demand and supply of uranium. As with any subject the devil is in the detail!
For many years there has not been a big focus on discovering new sources. This is changing and is expected to have a very significant impact on supply. What I also discovered is that sea water is a potential source of uranium, albeit expensive to extract given the concentrations in water. Another factor effecting the price of uranium is obviously demand. Two issues are of particular interest her, firstly new reactors can use reconditioned uranium which means that uranium can be used 3 times in a reactor and secondly, new reators are much more efficient in converting fission to electricity.
Don’t bet too heavily on the price of uranium and remember that real prices of commodities have not historically increased over long periods.
When Margaret Thatcher heard of the issue of fossil fuels and global warming she delighted in the thought that the ecowarriors would soon be supporting a nuclear age!
Now only 25 years later the Green brigade are being manouvered into supporting the largest nuclear building program ever scene with some 30 nuclear reactors likely to be built in the US alone in the next 5 years. If ever there was a reason to make Global Warming an issue then this surely rates as a good one with so much money at stake.
Watch out for the price of Uranium and let’s look at how nice the US will become in its dealing with Canada!
Al Gore and others dismiss any arguments against the current consensus that global warming is man-made by citing the heretics links with the fossil fuel lobbies. I can understand why Al Gore accepts no dissent of his view – he is on a mission and to deign to address the arguments of the dissenters is to introduce doubt. What I cannot understand is that intellgient people that I meet are so perturbed by any challenge to their world-view, that they latch on to any excuse they can to dismiss the arguments of those that may challenge their views. This is simplistic, lazy and dangerous.
Those that disagree or question the consensus that has now formed around this issue are generally treated as heretics – worse, their arguments are ignored becuase they have been shown to be financed by the “fossil fuel” lobby.
Let us assume that the evidence for global warming is not conclusive. Let us also assume that the evidence that it is created or accelerated by man’s influence on the planet is also inconclusive. If this was the case then I would still suport the search for non-fossil fuel alternatives and for the man to use energy more efficiently subject to one important caveat. The reasons for supporting energy effiicency and the search for non-fossil fuel based energy are as follows:
1) It is better to be safe than sorry – i.e. let’s not wait for conclusiveevidence and find out that it is too late.
2) Oil, gas and coal will run out and alternatives may take a century or more to be implemented
My one caveat is that our policies should avoid any negative impact on the developing countries where electricity for home and industry only behind food in the order of importance.
My preferred approach to pollution is not to analyse the underlying pollution producers like cars or power stations but to look at the activities that require the use of these. Eliminating or reducing emissions from cars or power stations must be an objective but it relies on technology more than anything else.
So, focusing down on the activites that result in carbon emissions I want to look at commuting. Something that I beleive to be archaic and unnecessary in many industries.
At say 5kgs of carbon emissions per hour 25 million people are commuting per day for an average of 1 hour. This racks up to a massive 125,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per day in the UK alone. With around 6bn tonnes of carbon emissions per annum globally I make that almost 1% of global daily emissions! Have I got that right?
I would propose that the company that obliges an employee to commute (for perhaps perfectly good reason) should pay for the privilege. This may encourage a dramatic improvement in home-life, regeneration of the countryside and less housing issues as companies invest in making working in dispersed groups efficient.