10 January 2008

The big nuclear sell-out: a corporate cave-in disguised as environmentalism

Big news of the day in the UK was the Government's decision to give the go-ahead for a new generation of nuclear power stations.

This is an extraordinary turn around from five or ten years ago, when it was only really the nuclear industry - the companies that build, maintain and supply the plants - that were pushing nuclear. It was seen as an expensive and unpopular failure from the post-war era, along with things like Concorde. So what's changed?

Essentially the nuclear industry has found a new, 'progressive' argument to use in lobbying the government - which is that nuclear power can help the UK meet its greenhouse gas emissions targets. It could - but renewable energy sources like wind farms would do that just as well, without huge subsidies from the government, and without creating radioactive waste which we still have no long-term plan for disposal of. But of course wind power is still small beer at the moment and there isn't a huge corporate lobbying industry around renewables the way there is around nuclear.

The recent 'consultations' over the issue were, as usual, a complete fraud - the Government had already made up its mind. No wonder Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth pulled out.

The Tories, as so often nowadays, have parrotted the Government line on this (Except to say that there shouldn't be any Government subsidies for the new plants - of course there shouldn't, but how likely is that?) Of the big parties, only the Lib Dems have a sensible position. Good for them - I'm thinking very strongly about joining up. Anything to get rid of the two Conservative parties... 'New Conservative' and 'David Cameron's Conservatives'. Go Cleggie.

With any luck there are going to be massive on-the-ground struggles when they start trying to build these new plants. It'll make the Twyford Down M3 bypass protest of the 1990s look like a village fete. That's assuming, of course, that potential protesters haven't already been detained under anti-terrorist legislation...

Fight the power.


Van Patten said...

I knew most greens were fundamentally imbecilic misanthropes and this post would seem to confirm that.

Whilst holding no particular torch for the Nuclear industry, it seems to me you offer no credible alternative. Wind farms are absurdly unproductive and indeed arguably the greatest scam in history- without conventionlly powered back up they don't work, and the only country that has tried to swittch over to them, Denmark has found that either they don't provide enough power or that they provide too much, the bulk of which has to be shunted to Northern Germany to prevent the grid overloading!

God help us if this is the best you have to offer!

giroscoper said...

Your argument only makes sense if we had to rely completely - or mainly - on wind - whereas in fact there is wave power, solar, methane from recyling rubbish, etc. How can the technology be unproductive if it's already being used on a commercial basis (and with far lower subsidies than the UK provided for the previous generation of nuclear plants?) What's your altarnative? Dave Cameron's bicycle with a bloke in a car driving behind it? Give me a break.

Van Patten said...

Are any of the techologies you have listed here actually viable or likely to provide more than a fraction of 1% of our predicted energy needs? The third one you list might be viable had your cronies in the neo-Pyongyangite EU and Environment agency prevented the building of incinerators and valuable inventions which would have enabled cardboard to be recycyled to provide energy for industrial usage.

Until we loosen the green stranglehold over energy policy, we'll almost certainly within the next two decades be quite literally in the dark. Clean nuclear power as being pioneered in Japan,France, the US and Australia is likely to offer the prospect of zero carbon energy within 5- years. This is anathema to the Greens, beneath the veil of whose 'environmental concern' lies a deeply misanthropic and communistic agenda. I don't need to sketch much of an alternative as none of those you have described is viable!