Misrepresentation of the Lewis Page ilk
Perhaps I don't read the same sites Lewis does but the most hysterical articles I saw on the Fukushima nuclear accident were his vainglorious 'everyone hysterical but me' rants.
S. Baggaley follows in kind with this sort of misrepresentation: "Countless more were injured. Millions are homeless. It's going to be a long, hard, slog to repair the damage. Did the news media give a shit? No: 99% of their coverage boiled down to, "OMFG! NUCLEAR EXPLOSION! CHERNOBYL! WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!""
Perhaps you two are reading the same sites. I didn't see it at the BBC, or the broadsheets. What I saw was plenty of coverage of the tsunami, it's consequences, and some articles expressing concern about the Fukushima accident.
All the while Lewis was posting body count comparisons and saying: this is no disaster, it's a triumph... in his best Crimean Sgt. Major voice. At times I wondered if they weren't intended to be read in a Windsor Davis voice and that, perhaps, TheReg was laying on the comedy a little thick.
Lewis has written as an apologist for the nuclear industry and now he is turning his sights on renewables. The facts are these:
Release of various radionuclides: ongoing. Full extent of clean-up as yet unknown. Current estimates being put at 30 years to sort it out.
Sea contaminated with various radionuclides. Full consequences still unknown: some fishing restricted and exports affected. Compensation to fishermen promised by government (not Tepco)
Large area evacuated: no time frame for return home. Tepco suggest some land will be permanently closed. No outline on compensation for farmers and home owners
Result for nuclear industry:
Increased insurance costs. Damage to reputation. Many projected generators being reassessed.
Results for consumer:
The costs will be passed onto the consumer. The level of begging for taxpayer bailout and its success as yet unknown.
Bloomberg gets it right regarding the cost and consequences:
"Japan’s taxpayer, not the nuclear industry or insurers, will cover most of the cleanup cost from the worst accident since Chernobyl, a financial rescue that may spur moves by nations to make companies assume more liability. Tokyo Electric Power Co., in its 13th day fighting to avert a meltdown at its Fukushima plant 220 kilometers (135 miles) north of Tokyo, at most is required to cover third-party damages of 120 billion yen ($2.1 billion) under Japanese law. "
So Lewis' triumph of an accident, that should cause all governments to build more nuclear power stations is this: a 30 year clean up that Tepco bill the taxpayer for, and a bill for compensation to farmers, industry, fishermen and evacuees that the taxpayer pays.
That's not a triumph, it's a disgrace... and that's why Lewis has played the health and hysteria card.
Now a summary of the actual news in Lewis' hatchet job in wind power:
Intermittent nature of wind power requires some form of buffering. Insufficient buffering in place. Industry currently receiving help in the form of price guarantees (like the nuclear industry).
That's all... but Lewis sets about it by ignoring that while wind generation tends to be at night, solar generation occurs during the day, providing some of the buffering required. Solar panels continue to drop in price and increase in efficiency. Recently I read that they break even in 5 years in Spain... so perhaps 10 in the UK. That creates an upper limit for electricity pricing (obviously not an absolute but a downward pressure) which Lewis ignores in his scaremongering about wind.
That's not the end of the story: there are decisions to be made about how, and which, renewables to plug into the national grid. My point is that Lewis writes like a cold war dinosaur. His ideological viewpoint is the one that caused Margaret Thatcher to hand the assessment of the nascent renewables industry to British Nuclear Fuels. They obviously dismissed it, and carried on demanding public funds for their 'too cheap to meter" electricity.
I don't come to TheReg to read that kind of junk.
To TheReg: I've read this site for it's insights for longer than I can remember and now I am seriously considering deleting it from the links I open daily because the misinformation in Lewis' articles call into question the site's journalistic integrity.