nuclear power


Nuclear reactors that eat their own waste

I’m not keen on it, but I think nuclear power will have to be part of any low to no carbon future. There’s a lot of other stuff that should be done before going nuclear, but that’s another post.

The design of reactors which burn up most of their radioactive waste has to be a step in the right direction. As the article points out there are still a lot of other ethical and physical problems with the technology, but reducing the amount of stuff which has to be buried for millions of years is a good step in anyone’s book.

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We’ll be searching for the people that never never went to war

Submarines in the harbour
incognito
Submarines of your dreams
not mine
The red red sky
must take the price
For giving to the people
who never never go to war

We’re glad it’s all over
We’re glad it’s all over
We’re glad it’s all over
We’re glad it’s all over

Hidden tunnels
secret items
guarded fences
Planet earth
resting ground
right now
The blue blue moon
knows that soon
We’ll be searching for the people
that never never went to war

We’re glad it’s all over
We’re glad it’s all over

The red red sky
must take the price
The red red sky
is giving to the people
that never never go to war

We’re glad it’s all over
We’re glad it´s all over
We’re glad it’´s all over…

Captain Sensible – Glad It’s All Over

The NRDC Archive of Nuclear Data


Gordon Brown's climate cowardice

I’ve been away for a while, sorry about that. (And I flew across the Atlantic whilst I was away, I’ll have to look into offsets.) But I’m back again now, and with something to really rant about.

Ministers are drawing up plans to abandon plans and promises to drastically increase Britain’s renewable energy production. Faced with some expense and a bit of hard work, new New Labour (or whatever we’re supposed to call them now Gordon’s in charge) want to bottle out and go home. So they’re trying to team up with Poland and others to try and have the targets turned down before the final draft goes through.

Some of the reasoning behind this move is nonsensical to say the least.

One of the main objections of government to meeting the renewables target set by Mr Blair is that it will undermine the role of the European emission trading scheme. This scheme was devised by the Treasury under Mr Brown and allows wealthy governments to pay others to reduce emissions. “[Meeting the 20% renewables target] crucially undermines the scheme’s credibility … and reduces the incentives to invest in other carbon technologies like nuclear power”, say the papers.

Investment in reducing emissions is going to harm investments in reducing emissions? That doesn’t make any sense.

Gordon could find the estimated £4billion a year required to make the change, probably quite easily. For one thing he could stop funding terrorism by bringing all of our troops back from Iraq and coming up with a more coherent plan for Afghanistan. He could create a multi billion pound industry in this country by subsidising start ups in the renewables sector (who’ll than employ lots of people and pay masses of tax). And he could champion smaller, local, schemes that aren’t as doomed as resurrecting nuclear power or hopelessly long term as a Severn barrage. Mini barrages up and down tidal estuaries might be an idea. Or community geothermal schemes. Taxing/ banning incandescent bulbs and putting a rebate on compact fluorescents would help cut the country’s energy needs drastically, as would increasing the standards for new build homes.

There’s so much that could be done that would pay back so quickly. I fear our political class lacks imagination and spines.

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I leave my body to medical science, if medical science will have me, but my heart belongs to BNFL

Aside from all the arguments about the rights and wrongs of nuclear power, I have a few personal reasons to dislike BNFL. One of them is the arrogance of a company that believed it was protected for various reasons. The news that the company took body parts from dead former workers without informing their families is just another example of that arrogance.


Reviewing the Nuclear Review

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/6364281.stm
The Government’s nuclear review (AKA whitewash) has been judged biased and misleading and there are calls for a new white paper on the subject.

Tony Blair et al insist that their fixation on nuclear power is a brave and radical attempt to counter global warming when it’s actually a cowardly and backward effort to avoid doing anything.  If they want to do something radical they should start subsidising insulation and double glazing for houses in the worst Council Tax bands and paying to put solar water heaters on every South facing roof in the country.  Start by reducing the need for centralised energy production and helping those whose energy costs are a greater proportion of their expenditure.  It will increase the prosperity of the country, likely encourage further spending on energy saving and cut carbon dioxide production.

Then they can start funding micro-generation and communal energy projects.  Water turbines on weirs, local windmills, geothermal for a whole street, that sort of thing.  Lots of little projects have a better chance of coming in on time and under budget than one big one and a distributed power generation system will be more robust.

There are a lot of reasons why this won’t happen, but they all have one common factor- Tony Blair’s cowardice.  The Daily Mail would moan about the undeserving getting cossetted with free insulation and rail against "Nanny Statism".  The NIMBYs would try to halt schemes designed to make them better off.  Big Energy companies would complain because they would lose their monopolies and hold over consumers.  Most of all, this sort of scheme would give power back to ordinary people, the sort of prospect that gives every politician nightmares.


Reviewing the Nuclear Review

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/6364281.stm
The Government’s nuclear review (AKA whitewash) has been judged biased and misleading and there are calls for a new white paper on the subject.

Tony Blair et al insist that their fixation on nuclear power is a brave and radical attempt to counter global warming when it’s actually a cowardly and backward effort to avoid doing anything.  If they want to do something radical they should start subsidising insulation and double glazing for houses in the worst Council Tax bands and paying to put solar water heaters on every South facing roof in the country.  Start by reducing the need for centralised energy production and helping those whose energy costs are a greater proportion of their expenditure.  It will increase the prosperity of the country, likely encourage further spending on energy saving and cut carbon dioxide production.

Then they can start funding micro-generation and communal energy projects.  Water turbines on weirs, local windmills, geothermal for a whole street, that sort of thing.  Lots of little projects have a better chance of coming in on time and under budget than one big one and a distributed power generation system will be more robust.

There are a lot of reasons why this won’t happen, but they all have one common factor- Tony Blair’s cowardice.  The Daily Mail would moan about the undeserving getting cossetted with free insulation and rail against "Nanny Statism".  The NIMBYs would try to halt schemes designed to make them better off.  Big Energy companies would complain because they would lose their monopolies and hold over consumers.  Most of all, this sort of scheme would give power back to ordinary people, the sort of prospect that gives every politician nightmares.