Friday, October 27, 2006

Meacher tries to scare us off nuclear energy with Big Numbers that turn out to be Quite Small

I’m not surprised that people are scared by the word ‘nuclear’. We’ve all seen the pictures of Hiroshima after it was bombed (although curiously poor old Nagasaki seems to get forgotten). And radiation sounds scary especially to those who didn’t pay much attention during school science lessons.

But nuclear generation of electricity has an enviably good safety record. Many more people have been killed, seriously injured or made chronically sick by the coal, gas and oil industries than by the nuclear one. France manages to generate three quarters of its electricity in nuclear plants and has never had a serious incident.

Chernobyl was of course a major disaster but its cause lay in the failed economic and political policies of the Soviet Union. As in the rest of their horrendously polluting industries, they simply couldn’t afford to build in the safety systems that were commonplace in the wicked old west. How curious that so many current members of the Green Party apparently want to install a similar centrally control economy in Britain.

On his blog site, Michael Meacher uses a piece of crude spin in an attempt to worry people about the problem of storage of waste from our nuclear power stations. He says it would fill the Albert Hall five times over. Gosh! Now the Albert Hall is really rather small but I suppose saying that the waste wouldn’t quite fill the Palace of Westminster wouldn’t have been quite so dramatic.

Ardent green lobbyist, Prof James Lovelock, visited the site in Cumbria where it is all currently stored. He measured the ambient radiation right outside the storage building and found it to be less than that in Aberdeen Cathedral (which is made of granite) or that which occurs naturally in many parts of Cornwall and elsewhere in Britain.

He's now convinced that Nuclear energy is our best short term strategy for generating the electricity our society relies on whilst avoiding a climate catastrophe...


At 22:15, Anonymous Ellee said...

I've been following this issue too and agree. In France, 80% of the country's electricity is generated from power stations. But people in the UK will never accept them, governments won't either becase they won't win votes, they are in the same boat as incinerators. You are banging your head against a brick wall every time you speak in their favour. And there will always be those who can dispute your evidence.

I found your site via MM, btw. Wasn't this topic the reason he lost his Environmental Ministerial role as he was at such odds with TB?

At 10:16, Blogger Hughes Views said...

Thanks for your comment ellee and welcome! I'm glad Meacher's site has at last included my comment, I thought I was being censored...

I can't remember quite why he lost his position but it was a shame because he spoke much sense about the environment. It's a pity that, like so many people, he has a blind, irrational spot over nuclear energy, I suspect that he's not much of a scientist...


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