Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Nuclear Power, Good for the Economy, Good for the environment, Good for the UK

So if everyone is so concerned about reducing the UK’s carbon footprint - then how come close to half of the UK’s Nuclear power stations are out of action on the run up to winter? Apparently a lack of funding...

Nuclear power stations are capable of producing realistic amounts of electricity, unlike many other so-called renewable energy sources, moreover if more were built we could not only make a serious dent in out carbon footprint we could reduce our exposure to gas supply problems and the impact of Gazprom’s muscle flexing.

France, known for looking out for their own interests, get 79% of their electricity from Nuclear energy, they have 59 plants. They don’t seem to have much problem keeping them running either. We by comparison have a pathetic 16 plants that produce (when they are working) around 18% of our power.

If UK greens/environ-mentalists had spent less time bleating about nuclear power in the 80s and 90s then they might not have shot themselves in the foot over carbon emissions.

The French have a realistic attitude to nuclear power. The French launched a properly funded, comprehensive nuclear program, after the 1973 ‘oil shock’, when OPEC toyed with the west by ramping up oil prices, sensibly vowing never again to be dependent on the whim of others for power. Unlike the UK, in France, nuclear energy is accepted, even popular.

Even James Lovelock (Gaia hypothesis) thinks that nuclear power is the only real green solution to reducing carbon emissions.

It makes sense for economic reasons, as we wouldn’t have to cripple the economy to save a ha’penny’s worth of power here and there and spend billions changing our housing stock.

It makes sense, because it would protect us from much of the impact of oil and gas price fluctuation and scarcity.

It makes sense, from the point of view of the environment, massively reduced carbon emissions and avoiding the threat of mercury pollution posed by low energy bulbs.

It took the French around 15 years. The UK could do the same. If anyone is worried about where to store the waste, we have some very deep ex-coal mines that would do nicely.


Crushed said...

I agree with you actually.

Nuclear power IS the way forward.

It is economical, it is clean, and by supporting it, we create facilities for further devlopment.

Splitting the atom is the greatest step forward we have made to date, we should utilise the positives, not just fear the negatives.

CFD Ed said...

Exactly. The only real negative is the threat of radiation. Recent research based around the Chernobyl incident suggests that it is not in fact as dangerous as was originally thought as they used a linear scale that assumed any radiation was dangerous, even tiny amounts.

There is some suggestion that low levels are not a threat at all and there is a threshold, below which, any amount of exposure is in all probability safe.

Provided the plant designs are safe, well constructed and waste disposal is safe done with care.

As I mentioned there are some pretty deep coal mines. Maybe plants could be built underground near the top and spent fuel sealed in concrete and sequestered deep underground. That way it would never need to travel or come above ground and any threat from leaks largely contained sub surface.

It could salso upport quite a few jobs and allow us to build marketable expertise.