November 22nd, 2005, 12:07 PM
New Nuke power stations for the UK
Apparently Tony B-liar (did I misspell that?) and his [strike]cronies[/strike] 'Government' are discussing the building of new nuke plants (NNP) to provide more power whilst reducing the UK's CO2 emissions (a commitment he seems to be backing out of anyway).
Now being the former scientist that I am I'm willing to listen to the arguments on both sides and some of the arguments in favour of NNP are quite compelling. But I can't help thing that this is not going to be any sort of long term solution. The lifetime of any NNP is going to be in decades whilst the waste products still have well known issues that could last millennia.
Plus building these NNPs is in no way going to be cheap. The power produced by them will also not be cheap as it will almost certainly have be built and run in partnership with private enterprise (and how successful has PPP been really?) which means they will be expected to turn a profit and recoup building and running costs.
Now the billions that would have to be put into these projects, what kind of power could be produced by putting that investment into sustainable power generation. i.e. wind and wave in the UK (solar not really being an option here). We have a lot of offshore platforms coming to the end of their usefull lives that could be utilised as bases for wind turbines. We have already had semi-successful projects using wave and tidle power but these have fallen by the wayside through lack of funding.
The uk has a probelm here in that no-one really likes the idea of NNP, similarly everytime a new wind farm is proposed 3 people living within 10 miles of it shout NIMBY and everything stops. I can understand if the masts are noisy but not on asthetic grounds, I quite like the look of wind turbines.
So what are we to do?
I'm starting to think that NNP is a mistake in the mid term, I think in the short term we're going to have problems but that we should be investing in more sustainable power souces. If we build NNP (which could take 10-15 years anyway and last for 70 maybe) halfway through their lives we could we see better cleaner power becoming more feasable i.e. Fusion, satellite power plants, better green power sources. Meanwhile we're left with yet more radioactive leftovers to deal with. I sound like a greenie but I'm not really.
Actually I just read a good point, green power is ok for constant demand but no use for when power surges (first thing in the morning when all the kettles go on).
Also what about power conservation. What about the government reducing VAT(sales tax) on simple things like energy saving light bulbs, efficent appliances etc. Discounting home insulation?