Nuclear debate grows heated

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 June, 2012, 12:00am


Kau Yan College and SKH Lam Kau Mow Secondary School met in the third round of the 13th Nesta-SCMP Debating Competition to debate on the motion: 'Nuclear power (fission) should have a place in Hong Kong's future.'

Kau Yan College supported the motion and SKH Lam Kau Mow Secondary School opposed it.

The debate at Kau Yan College in Tai Po, on May 29, was adjudicated by Stan Dyer, a native English teacher from Kwok Tak Seng Catholic Secondary School. He called the debate a classic battle between content versus delivery.

'The affirmative side produced better content and their arguments were well supported by evidence,' he said. 'On the other hand, the negative side had a stronger delivery. It was a close debate and by a slight advantage of one point, I gave it to the negative side.'

Dyer said that the word 'future' in the motion was key in the argument. 'Are we talking about two or three years, or longer?' Dyer said. 'The negative side was able to work the word 'future' to its advantage, saying that uranium - the source used to produce nuclear energy will run out in the future.

'However, the future they are referring to is still hundreds of years away. I suggested the affirmative side define 'future'.'

The affirmative team saw nuclear power as a reliable and practical solution to satisfy the ever-growing demand for energy in Hong Kong.

The opposition described nuclear power as a time bomb for an explosion that would cause hazards for generations to come. The affirmative side had no answer to the question asked by the negative side about an effective evacuation policy in case of nuclear emergencies.

The negative team suggested that if nuclear power should have a place in Hong Kong's future, it would be impossible to find a location to build a nuclear power plant. This was another point that caught the affirmative team off guard.

Overall, the affirmative side seems less persuasive in addressing queries from the negative side, which led to their defeat.

The secondary speaker from the negative side, Alex Siu Chun-yin, was awarded best speaker. 'He gave a well-delivered speech and had great rebuttals,' Dyer said

He also reminded debaters to follow a clear theme when arguing their case; he had been unable to identify their themes, he said.

The contest is organised by the Native English Speaking Teachers' Association and the South China Morning Post.