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Published on January 10th, 2008 | by Pem Charnley

16

Unbelievable UK Nuclear Decision

reactors.jpgIt doesn’t matter which UK news source you choose. It’s a story that overshadows all others today.

Britain has decided to return to nuclear power in a big way. No matter that one of our former environment ministers was interviewed earlier and stated categorically what an absolutely ill-advised decsision this is. Gordon Brown’s government have today made the nuclear decision official.

One of the arguments for this decision is that the government states that it will help them tackle CO2 emissions.

Yet, according to experts, the reduction in emissions will be a hideously pathetic … 4%. That’s no argument for nuclear.

We trail the rest of Europe when it comes to investment in sustainable energy. We currently glean just 4% of our energy from sustainable sources, yet live on a windswept isle surrounded by strong tides courtesy of the gulf stream. Compare this with, for excample, Sweden, where between 35 and 50% of their energy sourced is sustainable.

Caroline Lucas of the UK’s Green Party sums it up succinctly:

[The government are] very successfully pulling the wool over people’s eyes over whether or not we need nuclear. The bottom line is there are much greater, safer, quicker, cheaper ways of achieving greater emission cuts than going down the nuclear route. Plus the signal that it gives out internationally is an incredibly negative one”

For more details on this story, please click on the following links:

Channel 4

BBC – includes the opinions of experts – including Ms Lucas’ as quoted above.

In-depth Green Party reaction






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About the Author

Pem was once a musician. If pressed, he'll go all dewy-eyed and recount tales of playing guitar to one man and a dog down the local bars. Pem howled the blues, the dog howled, the man turned his back and ordered another beer. He hasn't really grown up. But he now puts pen to paper as well as finger to fret. When he wasn't growing up, first that occurred just outside London, before moving to Devon at the age of seven. He's aware that last bit rhymes. He has Welsh roots and is a descendant of the artist Augustus John - which is quite easy to achieve when you learn the man sired over a hundred kids. Pem has only the one child. Abigail. He's very proud of her. More so than he could ever express in words or through music. He just is. In alphabetical order - of importance to Pem: Curb Your Enthusiasm, environmental issues, family, Family Guy, friends, (not Friends - he finds that offensive), Lightnin' Hopkins, Motorhead, Son House, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The White Stripes, Tottenham Hotspur.



  • http://www.lifegoggles.com Joel

    Having just moved out of the UK it doesn’t surprise me that this was the decision. On such a small island what will we/you do with the nuclear waste? Exporting it out is just moving the problem, not solving it.

  • Shirley Siluk Gregory

    Thanks for the update, Pem. Some British officials certaintly seemed hell-bent on going this route, no matter what the public objections might be.

    Nuclear power is undoubtedly an emotionally charged topic, and it gets even moreso when serious environmentalists and climate-change experts like James Lovelock propose nuclear as our only immediate solution to preventing global disaster.

    I’d be very interested to hear your comments in a similar discussion we’re having at Planetsave on “Is Nuclear Power the Answer to Climate Change?” Please stop by if you have a chance, and thanks again for the info!

  • http://davidanderson.greenoptions.com David

    What does the decision mean in real terms? 10 new nuclear plants int he next two decades? 20?

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  • http://www.articles.me.uk Pem Charnley

    Thanks for the feedback everyone.

    David, it appears that 10 will be built by 2020.

  • http://greencarguy.blogspot.com/ GreenCarGuy

    Noooooo! Stoppppp! What are they thinking?

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  • Phil

    I’m glad to hear my government had enough sense to do this at least.
    This article is horrifically unrevealing, it suggest a 4% drop in CO2 from nuclear, but backs this up with no facts.
    It also fails to mention whether renewable sources could do anything like the same(they can’t at the current time, and to get them up to standard will take years and millions of pounds).
    I’m not against renewable, it is the way to go.
    But it’s just not feasible yet.

    Also, people assume nuclear energy is bad, without ever thinking for themselves, if all our energy was nuclear, the background radiation levels would hardly increase at all.

  • http://www.articles.me.uk Pem Charnley

    Phil, I had hoped that the links I provided would prove more than revealing. They are there to take the story further and provide answers to any questions you may have.

    My intention with this post was to flag the story for a US audience and point them in the right directions.

    Certainly, I thought by remarking that Sweden enjoys upto 50% sustainable energy, the UK, being prone to strong tides and winds could benefit rather more from energy sources other than nuclear.

    With regards to background radiation levels, I don’t want them rising at all thanks. And until I am convinced that nuclear waste doesn’t poison the planet, I maintain that it is a very dirty form of energy.

  • Karl

    It is very sad how uneducated the vast majority of people are on nuclear power. Of all base-load power source options available, there are only two that are feasible in the foreseeable future: coal and nuclear. Coal is very cheap and safe, and current and future advancements in coal technology will allow it to become immensly cleaner. The only major issue with nuclear power is waste – other than that, it is clean, cheap, and the SAFEST base-load power option available. Please do research.

  • http://www.articles.me.uk Pem Charnley

    To quote you, Karl:

    “The only major issue with nuclear power is waste. Other than that …”

    Other than that? What do you mean “other than that?” You’ve just blithely glossed over the most hideous aspect! If there’s waste, how can you call it a “clean” source of energy?

    Take a look at this piece to fully appreciate the costs of dealing with waste.

    As a taster, the opening paragraph reads thus:

    British taxpayers will have to fork out more than £30bn to clean up Sellafield, unpublicised official documents reveal. It is so contaminated that the process will take well over a century and, even then, the site will have to stay under “indefinite institutional control”.

    Please click.

  • Jake

    its a poor decision but mostly becuase of the risk and negligable benifits, regading what we would do with the waste product the UK already deals with a lot of the stuff we get sent from other countries, so its not AS big an issue

  • http://greenoptions.com/author/gavinhudson Gavin Hudson

    A video argument against nuclear power as a feasible climate change solution. It’s true… wind, solar, wave, geothermal, etc. seem very much preferable.

    http://video.stumbleupon.com/#p=badenwjlvw

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