headhonchoII wrote:Actually most governments tax the hell out of fuel rather than subsidize it. Subsidies on fuel are being phased out in India now which is causing a lot of strife but the government has no choice there due to it's fiscal situation.
One area that that politics are good at maintaining the status quo is by dishing out massive subsidies to ensure that cheap fossil fuels are available. Defenders will say that cheap energy is a right but the ordinary person really requires very little electricity/fuel for their daily lives but they consume a lot because it is available. The biggest area of impact will be on the transportation of goods which will be passed onto the consumer. Of course the gov't isn't spending the subsidy money so that money can be redistributed to lower taxes/more services.
Of course, solar and wind are "fuels" that don't have to be imported. But as we've already discussed, it would pretty much impossible for Taiwan to meet its current needs for power from these sources.
sadly, the fourth nuclear powerplant (currently under construction) is only 10 meters high - like Fukushima, the site is actually being lowered to make it easier to deliver fuel by ship. That was dumb, and makes me wonder if the project shouldn't be abandoned - it might actually be cheaper to do so, since the design being used is already obsolete and a generation three-plus plant could be up and running in three years.
So my point in the above rambling...even if one is not terribly concerned about global warming, there are some other good reasons to get off fossil fuel dependency.
finley wrote:I wouldn't trust Taiwanese engineers to design and install a toilet roll holder without causing a major international incident. There are maybe five countries on the entire planet that have 1) the skills 2) the clipboard-wielding, ramrod-up-the-backside culture and 3) the learned-it-the-hard-way experiences with technology to build nuclear power stations correctly. Taiwan is not one of them.
Although previous nuclear accidents might not have been actual "accidents", that's probably cold comfort to the people living nearby, for whom the result was much the same.
Then there's the issue of fuel or waste going astray. I understand breeder reactors didn't become popular in part because people were afraid of excess plutonium - although I believe that problem was soon solved in various ways, after the politicans had lost interest.
Personally, I don't think any terrorist organisation will ever be capable of building a nuclear weapon (I mean, a fission bomb). OTOH a "dirty bomb" is dead simple.
The bottom line is: if you have some technology that is inherently safe and idiot-proof (such as solar), it's better to use that rather than something that's inherently dangerous - if at all possible.
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