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Nuclear power “just doesn’t make sense” for Ireland, a leading energy expert says.

Why nuclear power ”just doesn’t make sense” for Ireland, news talk,  Stephen McNeice, 26 AUG 2021

Nuclear power “just doesn’t make sense” for Ireland, a leading energy expert says.

John Fitzgerald was speaking following recent fears that Ireland could face potential blackouts this winter.

Those concerns have eased now that two power generators are due to come back online in October and November, ahead of the high-demand winter season.

However, the situation has raised concerns about how the system will cope during periods when renewable sources such as wind turbines are unable to produce much power.

Those concerns have increased as more and more data centres are announced for Ireland – all of which require substantial and consistent supplies of electricity.

That has led to some questions about whether nuclear power – which, outside of safety concerns, is seen as a reliable source of energy by many countries – should be considered for Ireland.

Professor Fitzgerald – Research Affiliate at the ESRI and an Honorary Fellow of Trinity College Dublin – told The Pat Kenny Show it wouldn’t work for Ireland.

“Our generators come in what are called 400 megawatt lumps – nuclear comes in 1200 megawatt lumps.

“If you have a bloody massive nuclear generator in Ireland, you’ve got to have three gas stations puttering away and ready to go in case anything goes wrong. It just doesn’t make sense.”

rading electricity……   

he suggested the current make-up of Ireland’s electricity grid does make sense.

He said: “The thing about nuclear is it’s always on, whereas with wind it’s intermittent.

“When you have a load of wind on the system, having a load of nuclear doesn’t fit – it makes more sense to put in more wires to France and Britain and trade the electricity.

For now, he said the concerns with wind energy are about what happens in periods – usually in January – when you have several weeks with low or no wind.

He explained: “You have to have alternatives so the lights don’t go off when the wind doesn’t blow.

“What the concerns were – although there are less now than they would have been two weeks ago – is there are two big gas generators which are broken.

“They’re an important part of the system, and if they didn’t come back on… then when the wind didn’t blow we’d be short of generation.”

However, he said EirGrid and its predecessors have ensured Ireland’s electricity supply has been one of the most reliable in the world.

He added: “We just need to keep them at it.”

August 30, 2021 - Posted by | ENERGY, Ireland, politics

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