Nuclear energy

Nuclear is apparently the least popular energy source among EU citizens, with 37% opposed to it but almost as many (36%) having a more balanced view.

In the US, despite Forbes famously labelling America’s nuclear program “the largest managerial disaster in business history” in the mid-Eighties, with running costs exceeding all predictions, a Gallup poll recently found that 59% of Americans are now supportive of its use (27% strongly so). Florida may even allow the nuclear industry to qualify for renewable energy subsidies, even though it’s not renewable.

In the UK, now that the nuclear industry has been privatised, nuclear is suddenly acceptable again. Surely it’s a complete coincidence that the Prime Minister’s brother is head of Media Relations at the world’s largest nuclear operator.

This very large nuclear operator, by the way, is also trying to bully the UK government into lowering its proposed renewable electricity targets by 10%, as it wants a bigger share of government spoils more than it wants a greener future.

It’s probably also a coincidence that, in 2006, it became compulsory for UK schools to teach all pupils between 14 and 16 about nuclear power; the nuclear industry spending millions on teaching aids naturally heavily-biased in their favour.


Now, because of climate change and the clear need to reduce our use of fossil fuels, the pro-nuclear brigade insist that theirs is the answer to our energy crisis… ignoring the fact that it takes considerable time to complete nuclear sites and that we need an urgent reduction in carbon emissions.

Besides, it’s not as though nuclear means zero emissions. The plants may not directly create CO2, but the cycle certainly does – more than 10 times the industry estimates, according to some, which is more than any renewable alternative.

Then there’s the not-exactly-small matter of all that deadly radioactive waste, which remains dangerous for thousands of years, which has to be stored safely. Have we forgotten about Chernobyl already, perhaps the greatest ecological disaster ever known, which was unfolding so horrifically this time 23 years ago?

In any sense, aren’t nuclear power plants a prime target for terrorists?

What do you think? Is nuclear a dead-end option and ‘quick’ fix for governments (and, in Britain’s case, another way of meekly handing over vast bounties to US companies in yet another sickening corporate give-away), or is it a necessary evil?

Are renewables too risky in that they require considerable investment and, critics say, are never likely to be able to produce enough energy to meet our needs? Shell must think so, having halted all wind and solar schemes worldwide last month.

Which would you rather see funded through your taxes: nuclear or renewable energy? And which would you rather have sited near your community: a wind turbine or a nuclear reactor?

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour’s official blog, The Blog (‘Features’ previously being its rather naff title), affectionately – or lazily – shortened to ‘FEd’.

48 thoughts on “Nuclear energy”

  1. Nuclear (or nucular, as an retired leader of the known universe used to say) power plants were invented without taking care of the nuclear waste. When they were owned by the governments, at least the win and cost were in one hand. Now that private organizations cash in the wins, while living the issues (waste, radioactivity in environment, et cetera) to the society, it is hard to accept it. I’m convinced, that if the new owners had only to pay for the nuclear waste they produce, then they would close them immediately and start investing in renewable or other forms of energy (thermonuclear fusion, for example).

    I keep on wondering what would have happened if directors, owners and lobbyists of nuclear plants had to live with their families near them (let’s say within a radius of 120km).

    Asking about taxes: they should only be used to serve people, so I’d prefer to have them spent on fundamental research instead of giving them to companies. There is a lot to do to improve photo-voltaic cells…

    Best regards,

  2. Renewable energy is, of course, preferable. The biggest challenge here is one of infrastructure. In order to change over to wind/solar/tidal/geothermal energy, we have to revamp the distribution system and change a lot of laws. This is something that will happen, but only with great reluctance.

    Meanwhile nuclear energy technology has advanced a lot in the past thirty years, and the waste products are far less toxic than they once were. We can be thankful for that, at least.

    Conservation would really help much more- there is a lot of waste heat going untapped, and solar power that could be used, and wasteful systems that could be converted. For instance, why does England not use heat pumps? They are extremely efficient in temperatures above freezing, and use far less energy than the boilers favored there.

    Through a few simple steps we could cut power demand dramatically, using existing technology. The problem is resistance on the part of the politicians and energy companies. There is vast social inertia that has to be overcome first.

  3. I’m opposed to nuclear power. The human race is so creative, we must be able to find a way to have clean power? Fossil fuels have just been to easy to use and make money from so we have ended up relying on them. Now it’s running short and the climate is suffering we need to change.

    Nuke power is the quick fix (wrong fix).

    We need to spend huge amounts now to benefit the people of the future. It’s no good making a fast fix then passing the buck to the next generation. There is only so far it can be passed on until it’s too late.

    I’d rather see 1000 wind turbines lining the hills than 1 nuclear power plant.

    Look at all we have achieved in the passed 100 years. Clean power in another 50 to 100 must be possibility? And then I guess we would all start fighting over the technology…

    Like David Attenborough once said, if the human race was wiped out today the planet would get on perfectly fine.

    1. The reason that fossil fuels and nuclear are so appealing is because of energy density- you can get a huge amount of energy out of a gallon of gasoline or a pile of uranium, but it takes a lot more effort to get the same amount of energy from the winds. Chemical bonds and atomic bonds hold a lot more energy than the kinetics of moving masses of air or the radiation from the sun.

      One concept that I have yet to see really explored is getting energy from ocean currents. Not tides- currents. Take something like a wind turbine and mount it on the ocean floor in an area where there’s a known steady current (and those currents are all quite well mapped already) and you can produce far more electricity (water is much denser than air, so it can push a lot harder) and not have to worry about calm days.

      Because the initial investment would be so much effort in comparison to burning coal or uranium, this is unlikely to happen. Foolish, as the return on investment would be pretty huge, but people tend to be remarkably short-sighted…

    2. There is already such a device. I seen it on a James May documentary. It is massive. And works under the water with the currant. I wish I could remember more info on it. Just like a submerged wind turbine.

      We all want a perfect world, I guess. Does electricity really belong in our world? Combustion engines, electric motors, are they here forever? As a race we grow and our resources shrink and people get more greedy so need more and more.

      Global meltdown…

  4. I only have time for this quick comment.

    “Stop the World, I Want to Get Off!”


  5. 23 years ago! I remember Chernobyl as if it happened yesterday.

    In spite of new technology and tightened security, I still think nuclear is too risky. Your comment about nuclear power plants being an obvious target for terrorists is terrifying! Terrorists wouldn’t bother flying jets into wind farms.

    If I’m not mistaken, the London bombers had considered attacking a nuclear plant.

    All things nuclear frightened me in the 60s and continue to frighten me today.

  6. In my opinion, anyone believes that one form of energy is the be all, end all solution is very naive, and of poor intellect.

    Regardless of what type we use, the law of unintended consequences will always come into place. There will always be an unforeseen effect of implementing a certain plan of action.

    With that said, renewable is definitely preferable, but nuclear is good too. Recent developments in nuclear planning, recycling, and developing have brought us to a point where with the correct regulations are in place, nuclear is a safe and efficient means of producing energy.

    Also, recent breakthroughs have allowed for the nuclear waste to be reprocessed into a safe form of energy, leaving the remainder to be stored more safely and efficiently. The half life of this new waste drops from thousands of years to about 100 years, and is less powerful than what it once was before being processed.

    Is it the end all to our energy problem? No. But nothing is. We of course have to look into geothermal, wind, and solar. But nuclear certainly should be part of the equation.

  7. Definitely not a fan of the nuclear option but all the other options have problems.

    Wind, which seems to be a great favourite, would require vast vast numbers of turbines. Also with not being able to store electricity and the whole of Western Europe being becalmed so there is an issue with wind power.

    There is an new experimental tidal/current powered seafloor turbine (1.2 MW) in Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland which is a more reliable source than wind (providing it works as predicted.)

    For the foreseeable future it will at best be a compromise of coal, nuclear and renewables as far as I can see. Not ideal but better than 100% fossil based.

  8. Face The Fire – Dan Fogelberg

    I hear the thunder
    Three miles away
    The island’s leaking
    Into the bay
    The poison is spreading
    The demon is free
    And people are running from
    What they can’t even see.

    Face the fire
    You can’t turn away
    The risk grows greater
    With each passing day
    The waiting’s over
    The moment has come
    To kill the fire
    And turn to the sun.

    They’ll take your money
    And then take your health
    To line their pockets with
    Unequalled wealth
    These men are under
    The power of gold
    We won’t be safe until we
    Shut them down cold.

    Face the fire
    You can’t turn away
    The risk grows greater
    With each passing day
    The waiting’s over
    The moment has come
    To kill the fire
    And turn to the sun.

    The people came to the capitol town
    One hundred thousand of them
    Laid their hearts down
    They screamed in anger
    And broadcast their fears
    Just to have them
    Fall on deaf ears.

    Face the fire
    you cant turn away
    the risk grows greater
    with each passing day
    the waiting’s over
    the moment has come
    to kill the fire
    and turn to the sun
    to kill the fire
    and turn to the sun.

  9. Nations are not going to be able to subsidize their way to energy efficiency or low CO2 emissions. However, they can do a lot of good through taxation.

    In the US, gas taxes are low and people drive relatively inefficient cars. In Europe, petrol taxes are high and people drive relatively efficient cars. In the UK, VAT on domestic heating is lower than VAT on most other goods and services: the tax system encourages leaky, over-heated houses with inefficient boilers (hat tip: Tim Harford).

    If the government really wants to be serious about CO2 emissions or other energy related issues, it should raise taxes on energy consumption. This gives people an incentive to take measures to be more efficient. (To avoid the inevitable outcry from the poor, I recommend compensating for the regressive nature of such a tax by reducing another regressive tax such as VAT in Europe or the payroll tax in the US.)

    As for nuclear power, I do believe that they are pretty safe today. The French don’t appear to have much trouble and a LOT had to go wrong to cause Chernobyl.

    I don’t think terrorism is a meaningful reason. We can secure these facilities and besides, terrorists will always find something to target, should they be so inclined.

    What is less clear to me is whether nuclear power has the beneficial impact people are looking for.

  10. I’m all for nuclear power, but with some limitations, of course.

    We need more power, and it should be clean. We rule out all the fossil fuels, just for the CO2. The power we need must be cost efficient, and alas, the wind turbines are not good enough yet. So we need to develop these, look for alternatives to fossil fuel, and in the meantime, we can use the nuclear option.

    An interesting way of disposing the materials is to take them out to space, but this is too dangerous yet. We have to wait for the space elevator. But why do we only talk about Uranium as nuclear fuel? Thorium is the answer, if we only can start researching it.

  11. I’m for renewable energy. Wind and Solar are my choices for electricity production and the new algae technology for bio-fuels. They make wind turbines that can generate electricity with a sustaining 3mph wind these days and I think it’s the way to go versus coal and nuclear.

    It’s time to be energy responsible and I think with President Obama, we will achieve this goal. One can only hope to keep him for 8 years as President while his policies become permanent.

    Having gone to a Technical College, most of my dreams have been to own a Wind and Solar energy farm.

  12. Nuclear energy won’t solve anything. Right now, we’re depleting fossil fuels as a non-renewable. That’s been going on since before 1900. If it only took a hundred years to run fossil fuels low at the rate we used them in the 20th century, imagine how long it would take to ruin Uranium. Maybe 40, 50 years? Then we’ll just be stuck again.

    Besides that, nuclear energy isn’t clean. By the time you’ve extracted any Uranium out of the rocks, you’ve probably caused just as much damage as you would with coal.


    1. I agree with you – and once you take it out of the earth, there is so much more than what you took out. It’s like opening a can of worms.

  13. While the subject of the source of our energy is, of course, important, and if fully renewable and clean energy (e.g. solar, wind, water, etc…) would be the way forward if it was feasible, I think the immediate concern should not be how we generate more energy – it should be how we use less.

    Why not introduce some sort of law banning tungsten filament lightbulbs? Why not make sure that all new houses are properly insulated and as energy efficient as they can be? There are lots of ways the government could reduce our energy requirements, but they don’t want to do so (or they make half-hearted efforts to do so) because it comes at greater cost to the public, both financially and in terms of convenience. The government don’t want to do something that will turn the public (even more) against them.

    A big problem the world has to get over is that us humans are too shallow. We think more about our own comforts of today than the problems of the future. It’s not really our fault. I suspect we evolved to be that way. But unless we change soon, it’s a trait that is going to doom the human species.

    1. Great comment, Gareth. I couldn’t agree with you more.

      It truly sickens me that we hear every other day about some smarmy chief executive’s latest bumper bonus, greedy (Socialist!) MPs fiddling their expenses, the blasted bail out of banking Muppets (add ID cards, Trident, expanding Heathrow and the poxy Olympics for more examples of billions being wasted in Britain), yet forcing people to change their wasteful ways for the sake of our one-and-only planet’s future might just annoy the electorate. Best not upset the apple cart, protecting the environment isn’t worth causing inconvenience when careers are at stake.

      I wish someone had the guts to rock the damned apple cart so hard that all the little maggots would be sent flying to the ground, the majority of which would then get crushed underfoot, and those that survive could benefit enormously from experiencing the bitter taste of life in the real world. Maybe then things would change for the better and we wouldn’t have to witness such revolting double standards on a daily basis.

  14. Whichever way I look at it, I’m just really uncomfortable with nuclear power. That’s even before factoring in the terrorist target threat.

    I’ll believe it’s safe and clean when the powers that be build a nuclear power plant in central London and bury the waste (in suitable containers) in the back garden of Buckingham Palace. See, I can be reasonable.

    Even if renewables are not going to produce enough energy to satisfy all of our needs, surely it would make sense to use them as much as we can anyway. It shouldn’t have to be either or.

    1. :)) Central London! Don’t make me laugh. We’ll be harvesting the energy generated from flying pigs with solar panels strapped to their backs before the precious City is in any way tainted.

  15. I wouldn’t mind nuclear power. I’m not really fussed, but if it works in the long term, I’m happy.

    By the way, nice to be back on here, been quite ill in and out of hospital but I’ve only got one more operation so that’s a good thing.

    Nice to see all of you are doing well.

    Happy Days and Iechyd Da,
    Simon J

  16. After the terrible Chernobyl accident, we voted on a referendum in Italy and the people decided to shut down all the nuclear power plants, but this is what’s happening now.

    It seems our Government had decided for us.

    Nuclear energy is not clean at all.

    As you say, FEd, there are no safe ways to store the radioactive waste and even if they could be able to find a place, the entire world should work together to protect it and to pass this knowledge from generation to generation, until the stored materials had become no more dangerous.

    Do you believe that all the Governments of the world would cooperate in peace for so many years? If it’s possible, why can’t we have this perfect peace right now, even without the nuclear plants?

  17. Oh boy, don’t get me started…

    For me, the question is whether we need energy (or anything else, for that matter) badly enough to justify a byproduct that will remain deadly for twelve thousand years. A wind turbine may cost a lot to build, but that’s an up-front cost. The energy you get from that turbine is free and clear after that initial cost is recovered. And there is no byproduct that will still be deadly in twelve thousand years.

    No matter where you bury nuclear waste, it is inevitable that some future people will stumble across it and dig it up, not knowing what it is. Thus with every ounce of carbon-14 we make, we further condemn future generations to its legacy. That makes me sick.

    Our legacy as energy consumers is deplorable. Between nuclear waste, climate change and the environmnetal disasters caused by dams and such, we are creating an entirely uninhabitable world in support of our short-term goals. And we call this “progress.”

    In one hundred years, people are going to wonder why we couldn’t be more like the Amish (who are so old-world that they don’t use electricity or burn fuels). They are the ultimate stewards of the Earth.

  18. A nuclear reactor, of course. 😀

    Wind turbines are junk, litter the landscape and destablise the national grid. 😛

  19. Wind definately. I understand that there have been strides made in nuclear energy but I don’t think it can be considered a safe alternative. Where will all of that waste go? How much can we bury or launch into space before we’ve poisoned everything?

    I agree with Mondo, we are a creative race and I believe there are probably some good solutions out there in addition to wind and solar. Unfortunately our government has yet to give them proper attention.

    I saw “The China Syndrome” (Jack Lemon, Jane Fonda) when I was in high school, anyone seen it? It scared the bejeezas out of me – still does I guess.

  20. Does anyone remember the No Nukes concert in the late 70s? It featured Jackson Brown, and a bunch of other bands.

    During that period (Chernoybl, Three Mile Island) I was totally against it! No nukes! However, even though it is not my choice in the direction I think we need to go, I will say it does have some advantages over fossil fuel plants.

    We have so many positive things to be talking about here, there are great strides being made in the U.S.. For example the world’s largest solar power plant is going to be built right here in Arizona – click here.

    Take a look at stuff like this and inform your Congressmen, Senators, Governors, Statesmen, or whatever power that be where you are from.

    I haven’t put my own solar in yet, but it is going to happen soon, I think I have the same problem most people do… lack of money, and the economy isn’t helping right now.

    We need to have solutions before we fight this battle, I hope I see some more links on here to alternatives.

  21. Nuclear power? Well there is one thing that really bothers me about this concept and that is NUCLEAR WASTE. What the devil are people playing at?

    The scientists or whoever is looking into the concept of nuclear power, must look at the waste problem first. They must not do STUPID things like burying it underground. Come on, wake up!

    The problem with modern life, is we are all reliant on electricity to power our allegedly time-saving devices. I am just as guilty. So when looking at alternative power methods, one must look at the WHOLE picture and not just a snippet.

    What about nuclear waste? Shall we jettison it into outer space and pollute our universe too? What is the solution?

    1. What about nuclear waste? Shall we jettison it into outer space and pollute our universe too? What is the solution?


      look here if you have time.

      There is a paragraph entitled “Space disposal”.

      I think that if they could do as you say, they wouldn’t hesitate.

    2. Julie, look here if you have time. There is a paragraph entitled “Space disposal”. I think that if they could do as you say, they wouldn’t hesitate.

      Thanks for this, Alessandra. I read the paragraph with interest. I have now actually saved the link to my favourites, so that I can read the lengthy article about nuclear waste when time allows.

      Personally, I think we already have enough “space junk” orbiting our planet as it is.

      I appreciate there is radioactive matter out there in the universe, but gosh! We humans are a messy bunch and dumping more radioactive material out there is not going to do any good.

      Could man actually get the sun to swallow up our nuclear waste by jettisoning the waste to it?

      By the way, if there is other life out there somewhere in the universe, can you imagine their reaction if they saw planet earth with all this trash floating around it? Says a lot for mankind, doesn’t it?

  22. Sorry if I send so many links, FEd, but here is something else I found.

    The video is a Greenpeace spot. It was made to ask ENEL, the Italian power society, to avoid taking part in the building of two very dangerous nuclear reactors in Slovakia, which would be lacking in any protection shell.

    If we think about it, a plane crash or a terrorist attack are only two of the possible accidents which might occur everywhere in the world.

    In another example I read somewhere, there was a piece of rubbish falling from the space, not even so strange, considering what we’re leaving there, but it worked well to demonstrate that we should never believe who says that nuclear plants are safe because it’s possible to have everything under control.

    There is always something unpredictable in our reality, so why should we build something which could kill us in a while?

    More than this, there is not so much uranium in the Earth; as it’s going to happen with the oil, we’ll have no more of it in a few of decades, so nuclear power plants are not the solution anyway.

    1. Please keep the links and views coming.

      For those who have questioned why certain topics of discussion have little to do with David, I’d just like to give an approving nod toward the comments above and say, hopefully not in a patronising way, that it’s a genuine pleasure to follow such high quality debate.

      There, I just did.

  23. It seems I’m in a minority here but I think nuclear energy is good.

    If it was a matter of one wind turbine or one nuclear power station then yes, I’d pick the wind turbine (provided it could be made to look like a Dutch windmill) but one wind turbine doesn’t equal one nuclear power station. To get the same amount of power all I’d be able to see out of my window would be a sea of turbines. I’d much rather there was a power station there to be honest.

    I understand why people don’t like the idea of nuclear power stations, because as soon as nuclear is mentioned links to nuclear weapons usually appear soon after. But think of all the nuclear power stations there are, and think how many of them have been blown up by terrorists or have blown up of their own accord. None of them have. The closest we’ve got to it was Chernobyl, but that was down to human error and sheer bad luck. Regulations etc. have all been tightened and I doubt we’ll ever see a repeat of it.

    Nuclear power stations will also be much more useful for the economy than wind turbines. There are a lot of jobs created by one power station, but how many people have jobs running wind turbines?

    As for terrorism, how many nuclear power stations did the IRA blow up? Even when they were busy blowing up bandstands they didn’t. Obviously it’s a possibility, but so are most things in life, and you could spend all your time worrying about a lot of things which could happen, but it doesn’t mean that they will actually happen.

    1. I agree with Thomas. There is no such thing as a risk-free society and the terrorists will always find something to attack.

      I think we need to invest in renewable energy, sure, but it will not create enough energy. As Gareth and Julie said, we should use less, but there will always be those who need more than everyone else and if renewable supplies cannot meet the demand, then we need nuclear.

      What is the alternative to nuclear? Coal?

    2. What is the alternative to nuclear? Coal?

      No, no, no. Haven’t we already been using coal? I know there is such a thing as smokeless coal. My next door neighbour uses that stuff, but living in a semi-detached property, I get ill from his smokeless coal fires. My asthma has increased twofold. I suppose using coal would be like going back into our time machines to the Victorian age’s dark satanic mills in a way.

      Perhaps the only way to go is solar, wind and water power. Humankind is clever enough to sort it out. Humankind just needs to remember to look at the whole picture before jumping in feet first in the future.

  24. People made a political referendum poll in Italy some years ago to contrast nuclear power party. Not enough unfortunately.

    Nuclear power is just seemingly easy and clean but all that survives after a nuclear experience or damage is a grey nothing, nothing and nothing.

    And really, you’re right FEd: nuclear plants are a “delicious” target for international (and not only) terrorism.

    But the capitalistic systems don’t care… “everything, big, great or important, famous or symbolic could be a target…”

    I think that a wind turbine is cleaner and better than a nuclear reactor and alternative power is a promise to the future of next generations.

    With love

  25. I’m afraid I’m going to be controversial. Speaking as a scientist as far as I can see nuclear fission is the only short term solution. We are facing a massive energy gap as old nuclear plants go offline and I’d rather that was replaced with more nuclear than coal as the government is planning. My arguments for nuclear power are fairly simple.

    1, You get a lot of power out of one building rather than littering the countryside with random bits of wind turbine.

    2, The energy is reliable- unless we have much better planning of renewable energy (which would require a Europe-wide renewable grid with High Voltage DC powerlines, there was a New Scientist article on it if you’re interested) we will have to rely on either nuclear or fossil fuels for the “base-line” energy.

    3, Nuclear energy is safe. If it’s run properly, and by now I think we’re capable of that and I don’t want us losing our skilled nuclear engineers while we mess around wondering about whether there will be another Chernobyl. There wont (we have much better safeguards and not a system of ‘if you report a problem you’ll get sent to Siberia’).

    4, It buys us time. In 50 years or so we’ll either have a proper renewable system or nuclear fusion so we’ll have no further needs for our current type of nuclear power.

    I don’t particularly like nuclear fission power. But as far as I can see it’s unavoidable if we are serious about stopping global warming.

    Sorry for being controversial. 😉


  26. Umm, difficult one this.

    My old maths teacher used chicken shit to power his tractor. I’m not saying we should all get chickens and tractors. Imagine the smell. The protesters would soon be out for that one, eh? The most efficient we have at the moment has to be the “glow in the dark” variety.

    Fossil fuel power plants are bad. Full stop. So educating the people to “Power Down” has to be the best idea! That is until Professor Pat Pending comes up with something new.

    Wind farms kill pigeons.

  27. Hi Fed and all,

    I’m sure you know mine and Katrina’s stance on nuclear.

    Maybe the recent earth quake in Cumbria and Lancashire may wake some people up to the idea that nuclear is dangerous, but then again all these people can see are pound signs, and short term fixes with a disastrous legacy left behind for our children’s children’s children’s children.

    Damian and Katrina.

  28. This is a poll which was made in the autumn 2008, here in Italy.

    I’m sorry, I couldn’t find it in English.

    The red area in the first diagram represents the percentage of people who would agree with the building of nuclear plants. It’s 46,8%.

    The same red area in the second diagram, represents the percentage of people who would agree with the building of a nuclear plant in the province where they live. It’s 41%.

    Do these people who gave two different answers think that radiation would stop at the provincial borders? 8|

  29. Is there anybody out there who has a great idea for creating energy?

    My idea is to do with Kinetic, I think that’s what it’s called! Where we could could have sensors under all our pavements and walkways and when people walk over them it could light up our streets and power our houses, a bit like one of those torches or radios you wind up.

    I’ll keep taking the tablets.

    This wouldn’t work in the States as no one would get out of their cars.


  30. After some very busy weeks, a lot of problems to solve, it’s nice to be back here. 😀

    – I do not believe that there is a secure technology, since there will always happen errors (human or material). If nuclear (or nucular as a resigned world leader used to say) power plants are sure, then what about the nuclear waste? If their owner had to cover the costs of deposing them, then nuclear energy would be history for financial reasons.

    – Instead of spending taxes on companies, invest the money in basic research of energy and its storage (photo-voltaic, nunclear fusion, et cetera).

    And now for something completely different…

    3sat is airing two DG concerts:

    – David Gilmour: Live in Danzig, May 1st, 12:15
    – David Gilmour: Remember That Night, May 3rd, 03:10

    Best regards,

  31. I had a dream over ten years ago about a childhood home I lived in, a place called Hanford (Stoke on Trent, UK). We were walking around and there was nuclear waste everywhere and many people driving huge cars with big tyres through it (short version).

    A few years ago I read about the Hanford nuclear contamination in the USA, which I thought was a strange coincidence. It is seriously bad there and seeping into the Columbia River.

    I think I mentioned before that we need leaders with vision and a spine rather than ones who are poodles to big business. Here’s to dreaming! *sips my wine*

  32. I’m not a big fan of using Nuclear energy. Most of my problem stems from how long the waste will be around.

    I think we are going to have to use the several energy types to combat our energy problem. We’re going to need wind, solar, biofuels, etc…

    I’ve heard about a process gasification which has some promise. If what I’ve read is correct you can take ordinary every day waste and turn it into fuel. That helps take care of landfills overflowing. Here’s a link to the Wikipedia site.

    People, I think, should also look at their personal conservation habits. I ride my bike to work once a week. That’s 20% less fuel I use.

  33. You must definitely read “The Book of The Nuclear Era” (or …Age, I don’t quite remember the original title because I read it in Greek) by John May, promoted by Greenpeace.

  34. Nuclear Energy is probably the most misunderstood of all forms of power.

    We are told repeatedly by the government that it is Carbon Neutral. Wrong! – it takes the excavation of 10,000,000 tonnes of ore to produce a viable fuel rod. None of it is dug in UK, so it takes a load of carbon burning transport to get it here. When it is finished with the carbon and financial cost of storage is largely ignored.

    The idea that nuclear can solve our (self made) energy crisis is pure laziness. No nuclear plant has ever been built to time and budget yet. That includes the much – vaunted French ones. 300% overrun is common in the building of huge capital projects and yet our government is telling us that this is all going to change.

    Something about pigs flying springs to mind!

    1. Well said, Roger. I couldn’t agree more.

      Building ten new reactors (I shudder at the cost of building one, let alone ten), I believe, would only deliver a 4% cut in emissions. When you consider the cost to build them, and factor in the cost of decommissioning them and transporting materials to and from them and protecting them (not least from the risk of a suicide attack) and buying the silence of locals so that they don’t protest too loudly when the waste is dumped in their town, I don’t think it’s money well spent at all.

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