‘We must convert to nuclear energy because of the way we are consuming’ 

If we are genuinely serious about CO2 emissions and savings we have to consider nuclear.

This was the sentiment expressed by the chairman of the Blackwater Valley Wind Aware Group Paddy Massey this week as he discussed, in detail, the impact a third wind farm in the area of Knockanore in Co. Waterford will have on the community where he and his family reside.

According to Massey, Innogy Renewables is planning to develop a 25-turbine wind farm across the north Waterford skyline and residents in the locality believe that the picturesque setting will be destroyed forever – as will their community.

The community in Knockanore in Co. Waterford does not want any more wind farms on its patch

Innogy Renewables is Germany’s leading energy company with other key markets in the UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

The company’s business segments include grid and infrastructure, retail and renewables; all of which allow it to focus on the requirements of a modern, decarbonised, decentralised and digital energy world.

Massey, meanwhile, pointed out that nuclear energy is being imported into this country every day from the UK and highlighted how “we will eventually become reliant on French nuclear power”.

‘Energy vs. weaponry’

Massey says there is a big difference between nuclear energy and nuclear weapons and it is herein where lies the confusion.

“People confuse nuclear energy with nuclear weapons; look at Chernobyl – 1986 – the deaths that were directly attributed to the explosion were about 40; the rates of cancer are not that high,” he continued.

Those who were sent in to clean up after the explosion were the ones that were exposed to serious levels of radiation and many of those people did get cancer afterwards.

“It was a series of things waiting to happen really and if you look at the fallout from Chernobyl, the deaths from Chernobyl and the pollution from Chernobyl and compare all of that our use of coal – there is no comparison.

“Coal has killed hundreds of millions of people over the last century.”

Woodhouse Wind Farm is approximately 10km from Knockanore

He says that nuclear energy is “a very, very safe option”.

“The radioactive waste that comes out is stored underground and actually the radioactive material that comes out is no greater than what any of us are exposed to in general,” he added, before pointing to how ash from power stations is radioactive as is the sulfuric acid that the world dumps – “which is very, very harmful”.

“France has 87% nuclear power – it has some of the cleanest air in Europe and some of the lowest carbon generation in terms of the lowest CO2 emitting per tonne for the power that they use.”

‘Conversion and consumption’

Massey also says that the raw material for nuclear energy comes from mining uranium and if Ireland took all the money that was poured into wind and looked at creating a clean nuclear option for Ireland “we would be sorted”.

A third wind farm could be on the way for north Waterford

He continued: “What people won’t talk about is the fact that we are covering this country in wind turbines and when the wind doesn’t blow we have to back that energy up; where is that energy going to come from? from gas turbines in Ireland or nuclear power in France?

And that is why the interconnector is going to France.

“Wind has to be part of a renewable mix – solar, biogas, biomass, tidal – there are so many different ways of doing this…

“While we are being told that we can’t build nuclear power here – as a country – we are importing it from the west of England. I don’t believe we will ever have energy savings in this country unless we convert to nuclear because of the way we are consuming.”