I find it ironic the prime minister is using “nuclear” as a pejorative when it was the left’s irrational opposition to nuclear power that resulted in much of the world's electricity being produced by fossil fuels.
If we had embraced nuclear power 2 decades ago, we would have been in much better shape with respect to CO2 than we are in now.
Regarding the irrationality of the fear of current nuclear reactors, requiring active intervention (with control rods) to prevent nuclear meltdown is a genuine and justified cause for concern (as evidenced by Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima).
Fear of nuclear is irrational. Chernobyl was the single worst nuclear accident in the history of the world and UNSCEAR projects a death toll of no more than 4,000  from the original accident (which directly killed about 50) onward. A large amount of them are suicide by people who fear they were “contaminated” when the most likely cancer, thyroid (due to radioactive Iodine-131 released) has a 98% survival rate . Better than some flu years. That's what they were taking iodine pills for -- to saturate the thyroid so it didn't take up any of the Iodine-131.
Three mile island killed nobody and Fukushima killed 2-12 (almost 600 died from the actual quake). We learned from all 3 incidents and incorporated substantial additional safety measures for future designs.
The worst hydro accident by comparison, the Bangqiao Dam failure killed 230,000 people instantly. 
Nuclear has an order of magnitude fewer deaths per TWh than solar (it’s 10X safer than solar panels, yes) and two to three orders fewer than hydro and coal. .
Nuclear is no question the safest and most environmentally friendly energy source in the world by all metrics, and especially carbon emissions.
Of course I’d love to see thorium cycle explored too but we'll never get the funding with negative sentiment towards nuclear. It should be respected, not feared.
That said, my confirmation bias never led me to consider how the situation could play out similarly for any other form of energy. So thanks for articulating those facts so clearly.
Ummm... I wish it were that straightforward but I can't be confident of that. Power doesn't balance out as much as we'd like it to. There are a lot of elected officials who are ok with doing as bad to their constituency and they get away with it fine. And by get away that might mean they don't get another term but they take their money and go live a life of leisure. No jail time, nothing of major consequence. And usually they'll keep playing the political corruption game using the connections built up. (Eg: bringing in "preferred investors" for a "commission")
Reality around political power is ugly af :(
Have you normalized all those costs with the number of power plants of various types?
It may be that in absolute numbers nuclear power has been safer than anything else but it may also be that as a result of Chernobyl and other accidents they fell out of favor and didn't see as much use as other power generating methods which in absolute numbers have had a higher number of victims.
1 - to your point about nuclear being the most environmentally friendly, I don't see how this is true compared to wind and solar.
Nuclear power produces nuclear waste.
Nuclear power requires significant amounts of fresh water.
2 - one of the primary reasons to not build a nuclear power now is that wind and solar are actually cheaper per MWh compared to operating an existing nuclear power plant.
That being said in my opinion, highly influenced by the book Drawdown, is that we will need to build a lot of nuclear power plants in order to meet world electricity demands.
Pollution comes from e-waste as panels are replaced, mining/tailings and less-than-environmentally-friendly materials used to make PV panels. Most commercial PV panels are Cadmium Telluride. Cadmium is of course highly toxic and carcinogenic, and as panels get better, they're swapped out and that material has to go somewhere.
Wind, pollution comes from mining and refining rare-earth metals like neodymium that are required to make the magnets in the motors. While rare earths exist all over the world the majority are mined in China because China is willing do deal with the toxic war zone left behind . E-waste is a problem in this industry too although I'd wager smaller.
> Nuclear power produces nuclear waste.
Very small amounts relative to the amount of power generated due to its sheer unparalleled energy density. A uranium fuel pellet (1/2 in. height and diameter) contains the energy equivalent of 17,000 cubic feet of natural gas, one ton of coal or 149 gallons of oil.
Yucca Mountain, had they opened it, would have solved this problem in perpetuity.
If you're aiming for maximum environmental damage, just attack an oil pipe or oil tanker at port.
I just don't see the terrorism angle for nuclear waste. There are far more juicier targets.
In the end one of the right wing party's lawmakers voted with the left wing party, enough to pass a law, the right wing party used this as an excuse to dissolve parliament and call a national election which they resoundingly lost (the reasons this happened had more to do with the right wing party lying about the state of the economy and getting caught - but a mandate's a mandate) - we don't get nuclear weapons sailing into our country any more
Muldoon as PM used the loss of the nuclear ships vote as an excuse to call an election, but was caught out when the chairman of the Reserve Bank came out publicly and explained what was happening to the economy, by then of course it was all too late. Nevertheless we were proud of our Nuclear Free state, even more so when the French terrorists sunk the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour (remember that the previous Labour govt had sailed NZ navy frigates into the French nuclear testing zone to protest atmospheric testing, this wasn't a new thing for Labour)
I headed off on my OE the day after Marilyn Waring crossed the floor, by the time I arrived in the US and had opened a bank account my (still in NZ) savings were worth less than half ... not a fan of the National Party 's economic savvy
How would New Zealand be better off with nuclear power? Keep in mind our environment. We have lots of water, plenty of sun and wind and some regions have earthquakes, including big ones in areas previously thought safe. Down here ‘we’ are doing just fine without it.
I always like to refer to this chart  - but I also recall that nature only cares about absolute numbers.
There is an interconnect (Cook Strait cable, 1200MW HVDC) between the islands, and the south island ships power to the north island (primarily hydro), so you can aggregate renewable generation between both islands fairly effectively and treat them together as a single system.
Electricitymap.org South island: https://www.electricitymap.org/?wind=false&solar=false&page=...
Electricitymap.org North island: https://www.electricitymap.org/?wind=false&solar=false&page=...
Fully agreed for many other countries (disappointingly Germany, most recently) but I don't think Ardern can be held to blame for them.
A couple of interesting facts: 1) the galvanising moment for this was the “Rainbow Warrior affair” in which French intelligence agents were caught after having sunk the Greenpeace vessel of the same name; 2) the nuclear-free zone act does not prohibit use of nuclear generation in NZ.
Specifically it doesn’t prohibit all power generation, but it does prohibit nuclear propulsion. Which again has no impact outside of irritating allies, as NZ never has had and never will have a use case for commercial nuclear power production. It’s a very small country, and 80% of its electricity is already renewable.
I guess it's a manner of perspective.
This is nonsense. In nations where opposition to nuclear power is strong (like mine, Aus), there is not a left-right divide amongst the general population. People just don't want it, end of story, irrational or not.
There is a huge divide regarding electricity supply in general here - ie. the right wants coal, the left renewables. But neither want nuclear. There have been some pro-nuclear political elite lobbies, and there is a slight rightward slant there for sure, but this is entirely ignored by the general populace, left & right alike, that just doesn't want nuclear.
Also, it does fall squarely on one side of the industrialist side of the industrialist-populist divide of the right.
> .. that resulted in much of the world's electricity being produced by fossil fuels
My point isn't that 'leftists' (a decreasingly useful categorisation in any case) aren't anti-nuclear. It's that this anti-nuclear stance has been causally impotent in most of the nations that haven't chosen to build much nuclear capacity. Australia is a great case in point - even its 'leftist' party is very right-wing (pro-coal, pro-asylum-seeker torture, etc), yet the population, right and left alike, simply will not countenance nuclear power.
There's a great tendency for political pundits to confuse the positions and divisions of lobbyists, politicians and insiders with those of the population at large. Anyone attributing lack of nuclear capacity to 'leftists' is doing just that.
Storage of waste is almost a non issue because they is just so little of it - the fuel itself is incredibly dense, so it’s really only the old concrete that takes space, and it isn’t very dangerous.
Lots to read over, but this stuck out to me so far.
"gross emissions of biogenic methane in a calendar year are 10% less than 2017 emissions by the calendar year beginning on 1 January 2030; and are at least 24% to 47% less than 2017 emissions by the calendar year beginning on 1 January 2050 and for each subsequent calendar year"
"no remedy or relief is available for failure to meet the 2050 target or an emissions budget, and the 2050 target and emissions budgets are not enforceable in a court of law, except that if the 2050 target or an emissions budget is not met, a court may make a declaration to that effect, together with an award of costs"
Also, I can scarcely think of a more Orwellian idea than that Kiwis may soon be required to hold a (scarce) methane permit in order to raise livestock on their own land. Your sow had a litter, ey? Hope your permits are in order!
One example: https://blog.csiro.au/feeding-seaweed-to-cows-our-livestock-...
> Also, I can scarcely think of a more Orwellian idea than that Kiwis may soon be required to hold a (scarce) methane permit in order to raise livestock on their own land. Your sow had a litter, ey? Hope your permits are in order!
Canada operates this exact way with dairy licenses, and last time I dropped by, it wasn't an Orwellian nightmare. It's got a bit of a cronyism problem, but I've yet to see a country that doesn't.
"-no remedy or relief is available for failure to meet the 2050 target or an emissions budget, and the 2050 target and emissions budgets are not enforceable in a court of law, except that if the 2050 target or an emissions budget is not met, a court may make a declaration to that effect, together with an award of costs
-a person or body may, but is not require to, take the 2050 target or an emissions budget into account in the exercise or performance of a public function, power, or duty"
I don't know what happens in your country, but we don't appoint our friends to public sinecures
We do have a socialised health system (high marginal income tax rates are still roughly 10% lower than California) - so we do tend to want you to buy into that - generally we want you healthy and younger so that statistically you'll pay into it for a bunch of years before you draw on it heavily
And come the only "incentive" is "you don't pay road tax thru fuel" (while you still pay quite a bit thru yearly registration)?
How come there are 0 electric buses or heavy equipment in Auckland or whole NZ?
How come solar panels for your boat or lithium batteries for your bike (or electric bikes themselves) cost something like 4x than outside world?
And also where are the bike paths? Or even pedestrian paths in some places? If you live in North Shore and wanna get into city using your electric motorbike (that costs 2-4x per year to keep registered when compared to a car)? Tough look.
Ah yes scooters, nearly destroyed by likes of NZHerald with fear mongering articles...
Lastly this one is more to criticise business and I actually find them vile and atrocious - but where are all the Impossible Burgers?
Given the suitability of NZ for EV's it would be nice if there was more government support for their uptake.
Most of NZ is very sparsely populated; your transport choices are basically fly or drive yourself. There isn't much of a rail network and buses take forever.
There are basically no motorways.
The South Island especially has a lot of mountains, and many roads that cover over high passes.
My wife and I are looking at an EV for our second car, but my primary vehicle will be an ICE for the foreseeable future. It's just hard to go camping, skiing, or even travel between the larger towns in an EV.
Plus 90% of people never leave cities anyway. Finally EVs will soon have longer range than ICE's.
I am not sure what roads do you travel, but I find it's actually quite difficult to hide on NZ roads - if you wanna do something cheeky or sleep - you'll be driving long way to find something that's not private property or fenced farm. Nature is absolutely gorgeous but it's already divided and feels almost artificial (even my father joking they've put speakers in bush to make fake bird sounds).
Where I live I can't ride my bicycle to work without taking a risk higher than I'm willing to take, riding on a road without shoulders alongside milk trucks.
I looked into converting one hectare into native forest to get $4000 from the government. The cost is $20,000, and requires supervision by council and a "management plan". I became disheartened and decided to just shove poplar and willow branches in the ground and let it go wild. Government pays me $0 for taking that farmland off the market.
There are a lot of basic practical things that are holding people back who want to lower their carbon footprint, things that don't need any new innovations but just need to get done.
Lol more self important politicians making symbolic statements that will never be implemented. It didn't say how they do this. Go Nuclear? I guess the current politicians wont be there in 2050 so it doesn't really matter.
Good thing they import all their manufactured goods from China, so at least they dont count.