New Nuclear Power?

Having grown up in the era when nuclear power was going to make virtually free electricity in unlimited amounts – at least according to the industry – and having seen the fiasco it really was I’m unconvinced that nuclear power is the answer to any problem.

© 2009 Peter Marshall.
Decommissioned power station on the Blackwater at Bradwell, Essex

And of course I’m still unconvinced we have any real answer to the huge amounts of nuclear waste that our existing and decommissioned power stations have built up, yet alone the increased amounts power stations on the ten sites announced yesterday will produce. Apart from Bradwell, other exisitng sites to be reused are Sizewell, Suffolk , Hartlepool & Heysham, Lancs, Hinkley Point, Somerset, Oldbury, Gloucestershire and Wylfa,  North Wales, and Sellafield in Cumbria, which is joined by the two new sites nearbty, Braystones and Kirksanton.

© 2009 Peter Marshall.
Bradwell, Essex

Not that I’m against nuclear entirely. Their is one huge nuclear power source whose greater use I entirely support. It’s called the sun.

Even in the UK it can be a useful source of energy, though probably more by its effects on making air and water move around in various ways.  We have more than enough wind to meet our energy needs, even before we start to add in other renewables.

Of course there are problems in the kind of expansion of wind energy that we need, and in particular those caused by the failure of our government to act. Allowing the one factory in the UK producing turbine blades to close.  Failing to make promises about the future return for renewable electricity and to use EU funding  for the proper purpose (and using it to promote agro-fuel production, adding to the problem.) Failing to give any real lead over planning for wind farms and so on.

© 2009 Peter Marshall.
Ed Miliband faces critics at the DECC

Another area of failure has been over cutting energy use, concentrating on a few easy targets and neglecting the major places we need to make cuts. Going down false(or at least highly unlikely) roads such as carbon capture and storage and carbon trading.

The government have been working hard to give themselves a green gloss, but overall is it any more effective than Mrs Thatcher’s ‘Keep Britain Tidy campaign?  Not of course that the opposition look much more likely to get things done. It’s almost enough to make me join the Green Party again.

© 2009 Peter Marshall.
Bradwell, Essex

Apologies for the rant, but I find it hard just to watch my planet going down the tubes.

The locals used to find the River Blackwater had nice warm water downstream from the power-station and there is a nice white sand beach just a little downstream.  I imagine the new station – if it ever happens- will be built close to the old, and make use of at least some of the existing infrastructure. Given it’s really only a short distance from London it’s an incredibly isolated place, with huge fields of organic wheat being harvested while I was there for a week in the summer.

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