Sunday, 19 April 2009

Nuclear No Nos

Nuclear Power is not the answer. Two stories explain why.

First, there is the waste. We simply do not know how to deal with it, how expensive that will be, or even if we will ultimately be successful. This story in the Guardian provides some more context: I was interested to learn that the most hazardous industrial building in western Europe is at Sellafield, an English nuclear power plant. The second most hazardous one is there too. The estimate for the cost of cleaning this up is £50B - and we all know how accurate estimates like that tend to be (or those of us who are paying for the London Olympics in our taxes do anyway). I very much doubt Sellafield generated fifty billion worth of electricity in its whole life.

Second, there is the lag. The UK will need lots more energy generation by around 2015. That's when the crunch comes. Even if nuclear is a good idea - which it clearly isn't - it can't be ready in time. Notice that if we have an election in 2010, 2015 might be only one parliament away. That should focus minds a little...

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3 Comments:

Blogger Tales of a Starbucks Addict said...

I disagree, I think that the it is the first generation nuclear power that is the problem in that it is inefficient and expensive to clean as you point out. The next generation are alot better. It is the only way to really ensure energy security (the big suppliers are commonwealth countries) and meet emissions targets.

I really think the environmental campaigners do themselves a great disservice by not looking at nuclear with a clear mind.

You are right though that it won't be done by 2015, but look at the alternative, who wants wind power in their back yards?

8:32 am  
Blogger David Murphy said...

Well, actually, I wouldn't mind a wind turbine in my back garden at all. But I take your point - there is a lot of resistance. We need tidal too: the Severn could help a lot here. And high efficiency solar thermal power stations, such as the recent builds in Spain and North Africa, are part of the answer for Europe too. For me, fission makes no sense: we need to skip straight to fusion.

12:52 pm  
Blogger Cognitive Overload said...

What about the other alternative: we all think very seriously about our own energy consumption?

10:22 pm  

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