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back to article British warming to NUKES after Fukushima meltdown

Despite the massive and often neurotically inaccurate Western media coverage of the Fukushima nuclear accident, British public confidence in nuclear power has increased. In a poll by Populus for the British Science Association, 41 per cent of respondents said the benefits of nuclear power outweighed the risks – up 3 per cent. It …

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Ru

Greens... seem to have lost their Kryptonite

I don't think this is really true, but it doesn't seem to matter much either way.

Their principle strength these days seems to be pushing governments to make questionable economic decisions, and that particular trick doesn't seem to be wearing out just yet.

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Er.

"So it may be back to the drawing board for Greens, who seem to have lost their Kryptonite: the ability to steer people towards policy goals by scaring them witless."

Because that's only the Greens that do that isn't it? Typical anti-Green bias. Let's keep consuming the planet people. It'll last forever. Or at least longer than we will, so that's alright isn't it?

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Flame

Limited resources

erm... and when are we predicting the end of our supplies of coal and oil? What are the greens going to say when all we have nothing but nuclear left? Unless someone develops another usable power supply, and unreproducable cold fusion doesnt count, then nuclear would seem to be the only current viable option. now is the time to be planning for when the oil wells run dry. Not when the last drop has been burnt.

Flame icon because thats what we are doing with the planet. If the greens truely loved the planet they should be in favour of nuclear power.

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Anonymous Coward

So wrong

"If the greens truely loved the planet they should be in favour of nuclear power."

No, absolutely not. What pro-nuclear knuckleheads can't get through their thick skulls is that nuclear causes pollution that is both more dangerous and more persistent than burning coal does. With modern scrubbing systems the only pollutant coal releases in any significant amount is CO2, which is probably the least persistant pollutant in existance (just plant trees around the power plant). Fission, on the other hand, produces depleted uranium, which retains it's ability to cause cancer and radiation poisoning for thousands of years and, unlike CO2, can not be easily processed into anything remotely useful. Plus uranium is every bit as finite as any fossil fuel. If we switch to it our grandchildren or great grandchildren will be in the same boat we are now. It'll be gone by the time our great great grandchildren are running the world.

No sir, people who truly care about this planet want to improve the tech behind solar, wind, and hydro power to make it reliable enough to depend upon, not support another filthy, non-renewable technology like nuclear.

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Anonymous Coward

derp

You're an idiot, coal power pumps out more radiation than nuclear accidents have.

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FAIL

even more wrong

CO2 is not a pollutant. It's vital for all life on this planet.

If you don't understand that, look up "food chain"

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Silver badge

Not that wrong though.

We're stuck with wasted fuel rods because we aren't reprocessing 'em. Anyway, nuclear/fission is really intended as a stopgap measure; the one thing that will actually give us unlimited power is fusion. Nuclear will last long enough for fusion to be viable... but the same idiots mindlessly campaigning against nuclear are also going against Fusion. Even though Fusion is actually *safe*.

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@Ac 'So Wrong'

"What pro-nuclear knuckleheads can't get through their thick skulls is nuclear causes pollution that is both more dangerous..." Blah, blah, yackety-smackety... I worked around radioactive sources for about 8 years in the 80's/90's and I ain't glowing yet :)

Here's my view: What anti-nuclear dimwits can't get through their thick skulls is that nuclear does not necessarily equate to fission alone. All this bull**** about wind fams... Pah. Nuclear is the only viable, realistic answer... Fission short term, fusion long term.

Me? I'm the one with hydrogen fuel pellets in my pocket. You can keep your fart farms ta very much :)

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Mushroom

So very very wrong...

Coal plants produce HEAPS of toxic waste. Sure, we catch most it and bury it somewhere but have you ever wondered how long these products last?

How long is mercury poisonous for? That's right, FOREVER!

How long are these isotopes a problem for? A few thousand years (less with correct reuse and management).

Seems like one is definitely better for our long term outlook...

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WTF?

Yea...

And there is more gold dissolved in the sea water than in fort Knox... is a matter of density, water has probably killed more people that all wars combined... lets ban that :D.

Nuclear power is a dead end just like oil, and incredibly scarce and messy to boot. Wind is unreliable. A Solar/hydrogen system is the best bet. Use solar energy to produce hydrogen and accumulate it then, use it as fuel. This eliminates the variability factor once stock of hydrogen have been filled. Plus we are not even close to the max amount of energy we can get for every cm2 of panel.

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Alien

So Wrong

Dear Anonymous Coward,

The screaming greenies here i n New Zealand are opposed to Hydro generated power.

The reason for opposing one Hydro scream was that some obscure snail lived in the area where the dam was to be built.

Then there is the catastrophic scenario of dams causing earthquakes, sure but bloody small ones.

Can you answer a simple question - How many Japanese have died or been given more than the acceptable radiation exposure from the Fukushima plant?

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The radiation and radioisotope numbers for coal stations are the scary thing.

Think on this - Drax - 4,000MW of coal-fired power, burns about 36,000 tonnes of coal per day (that's right, per day) at full power.

That's 13.1 million tonnes per year.

Coal typically has a uranium content of between 5 and 20 ppm. If we take 10 ppm as a resoanable mid-point, that's dumping around 130 tonnes/year into the environment, in fly-ash. That's not all, of course, because there's also a similar thorium content, and also the whole chain of decay products from that uranium - some of which is notably nasty, like radon.

If you assume a 50 year operating life, that's about 6,500 tonnes of uranium alone - dumped unconstrained into the environment.

For comparison, the total uranium content of the three damaged cores at Fukushima is about 3,000 tonnes - and there's no evidence at all of anything other than trace amounts of that having migrated out of the reactor buildings.

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FAIL

Just plant trees WTF?

>(just plant trees around the power plant)

WTF, have you any idea how much CO2 a power plant like DRAX pumps out per second?

or how many Wales of forest it would take to offset it?

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FAIL

There's a bigger problem

Which is that almost anything that gets proposed gets shot down for a variety of reasons.

Coal is too dirty.

Nuclear means we'll all glow in the dark.

Hydro means that birds will have to fly somewhere else.

Wind minces birds and causes localised climate change downwind.

Solar takes up too much space.

On and on it goes - every proposal being cut out by one special interest group or another for endless reason after stupid reason, resulting in nothing more than an absolute stalemate which leaves us with the status quo and no idea how to move forwards.

The truly depressing thing is that even if you were to ask a Green-ist what we should be doing, there isn't a consensus there either, and we'd be subjected to round after round of arguments extolling the virtues of one thing (wind) over another (solar).

The sad truth is that there is not, and will almost certainly never be, a single catch-all solution. We have to make the best of a bad job, and try to make things as efficient as possible to use as little resource as possible, while doing what we can to maintain the way of life that we are all accustomed to.

As with all things, a little from column A and a little from column B is likely to be the optimum solution. Mix'n'match and do what we can.

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if you want the numbers, it's about 22 million tonnes of CO2/yr.

So, about 2/3rds of a tonne per second.

Apparently, a good commercial forestry produces about 18 tonnes of wood per hectare/year. If we assume half the weight of that is carbon (quite a lot is water), let's call it ten tonnes/hectare/year

So, to offset Drax we need about 2.2 million hectares. Wales is about 2 million hectares - so, about 1.1 Wales-worths (that's assuming we could plant the whole of Wales, that is - I gather there are a few mountains, etc. that might not be too good.

Actually, what is interesting is, Drax typically produces about 5% of our electricity demand on average. Coal overall is about 40%. So, we need about 8 Wales-worths just of offset current CO2 production from coal alone. What'd be about 17.6 million hectares.

The total land area of the UK, including Scotland, and Northern Ireland, as well as England and Wales is about 17.8 million hectares.

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Current wind/solar technology

Takes more energy to create than it ever produces...

Not a good idea.

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"Interestingly there is a gender gap opening up – with women much more fearful of nuclear energy, and men increasingly supporting it. What does that tell us?"

That women are more sensible than men?

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I'd say the opposite since until we can efficiently tap "renewable" sources we either get on with using Fission, make progress with Fusion or we carry on using up the dwindling supplies of oil, coal, gas etc.

Humanity will find a way but acting like nuclear luddites is not likely to be the best way.

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Happy

Or perhaps Men are more rational than women, and more able to objectively weigh risks?

Or perhaps the opinions of individual commentards such as you and myself are overly simplistic?

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Or that men are doing the housework these days and coal dust just makes it a NIGHTmare, luv.

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Devil

@TrishaD -- Thumbs Rule!

Thumbs indicate the sex ratio of El Reg readers, methinks.

>:-)

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You are making a common mistake.

The thing about fear is that it's an impulsive shortcut around sense that we evolved back when we weren't smart enough to solve problems with our minds fast enough.

Decisions guided by fear are hasty and emotionally charged. They are, in general, not rational decisions, and you are unlikely to question them. They are quick, impulsive decisions from the part of your brain that tells you to run from scary things that might eat you.

Hence, when you think with fear, you reduce your powers of reasoning to a prehistoric level. This is no good for running a civilization.

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Or perhaps men pay the electricity bill and just don't want to see it quadruple so want nuclear given, as stated, it's cheaper than the alternatives.

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Boffin

@Captain Thingytron

Or maybe men act in more reactive and alpha ways, and bang their club against anything they don't understand...?

nK

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Sense and sensibilia

""Interestingly there is a gender gap opening up – with women much more fearful of nuclear energy, and men increasingly supporting it. What does that tell us?"

That women are more sensible than men?"

In respect of the insane babble from below, I was working with female sex offenders before it was published. Of late more evidence has been uncovered on female sexual abuse, female domestic violence including murder, female stalkers, female offenders in general and, given that the truth is the possession of no individual, institution or group of individuals and no individual or group of individuals is dispossessed of the truth on the non sequitur say of a twit, I'd say that you look rather silly.

"It cannot be assumed that men are bound to be an asset to family life, or that the presence of fathers in families is necessarily a means to social harmony and cohesion"

The Family Way: A New Approach to Policy Making, Anna Coote, Harriet Harman, Patricia Hewitt Social Policy Paper no. 1. Institute for Public Policy Research: London 1990 ISBN 1872452 15 9

"But if we want fathers to play a full role in their children's lives, ...then we need to bring men into the playgroups and nurseries and the schools. And here, of course, we hit the immediate difficulty of whether we can trust men with children. ...Unfortunately, the experience of many of those working with children is that the men who abuse often seek out jobs with children. So we need safeguards. ... Distasteful though it may seem, it may well be necessary to follow the practice already established in some of the schools of not leaving men on their own with groups of children." (1993b, pp. 24-7)

Hewitt quoted in Dench, (1996) Transforming Men: Changing Patterns of Dependency and Dominance in Gender Relations, Transaction Publishers

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women are more blond than men?

Ducking my girlfriend for the momeny I would suggest that a suggestion that women are more sensible than men can be refuted with ease....

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The family way

What a pile of obvious drivel... no wonder the policies that spouted from this were some harmful and divisive. As a male in the UK I won't go anywhere near anything to do with kids here anymore just because I don't want people automatically labelling me as a pervert. One of the many reasons to be leaving this country at the end of the month. (and no, I have no idea why I didn't leave much earlier, there really is nothing left in Britain to recommend it at all).

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FAIL

Joe Average and his opinion

"What the poll certainly indicates is that people are more rational than scaremongers suggest – and perfectly capable of performing risk analysis, weighing up the costs and benefits of a technology."

@ the author: if you really think that average people who for most part neither possess the required knowledge nor have all the information that is required for a valid risk analysis then you're delusional. What Joe Average 'knows' comes from the media (means: you) which gladly reproduce what is spoon-fed by them by the lobbying industry like to a parrot.

Like with all more complex topics, the general public as such has no f***ing clue. People vote for representatives which act against their interests, and often can't even keep their own computer malware-free. And now you want to tell us they suddenly have become experts in nuclear power generation?

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Joe Average and his opinion

"What Joe Average 'knows' comes from the media (means: you) which gladly reproduce what is spoon-fed by them by the lobbying industry like to a parrot."

That isn't true any more. The genie is out of the bottle.

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Thumb Up

A good point well-made, especially in these fora - normally The Reg is highly sceptical of the "wisdom of crowds", their ongoing dismissal of Wikifiddlers being a prime example. Perhaps there's a little confirmation bias creeping in - crowd wisdom is fine as long as it's a crowd we agree with?

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Anonymous Coward

>which gladly reproduce what is spoon-fed by them by the lobbying industry like to a parrot.

Very true.

But why do you conveniently forget the other side of the coin, the so-called "independent" organizations that use exactly the same mechanisms to put their views forward to their captive audiences?

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Joe Average and his opinion

Well said.

In a recent poll carried out by the London Science Museum, we Brits also rated having an Internet connection more vital than having clean drinking water and Facebook more vital than a flushing toilet. So, polls mean nothing.

Germany have the right idea.

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FAIL

Well, if I don't have clean drinking water, but I have access to the Internet, it wouldn't be so hard to track down some filtration equipment. I'm sure they are twelve a dozen on ebay.

The average visitor to the LSM doesn't even know what not having clean drinking water is like. They probably think that it's OK, you just buy the bottled stuff from Sainsbury's. The question is really misleading, because of the hidden implications. In a society which cannot provide clean drinking water, your biggest problem will not be the lack of internet.

It's like asking what is more important to you: your shoes, or your <insert favourite smartphone>. I bet people would say their phone, because they can't even conceive of a situation in which they don't have a shoe. If you take the question literally, i.e. choose between otherwise completely equivalent situations, one with a missing shoe and the other a missing phone. Obviously, my shoe is £30, my phone is £300. But choose between being a tramp on the street without even a shoe, and a middle class couch potato who just about cannot afford a £300 phone, obviously the latter...

</rant>

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Facebook more vital than a flushing toilet

I dispair. I really do.

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Coat

cant live without.survey

my top 3:

1.Food

2.water

3. shelter .

4 heat/energy

Everything else is a bonus,

Here are the results of that survey

34-bottled water ffs!

note none of my top 3 are in there, exept token mention of food at 16 & 21

I guess for this to mean anything you have to know the context, or way the questions were asked . Which they arnt really saying

1. Sunshine 2. Internet connection 3. Clean drinking water 4. Fridge

5. Facebook 6. NHS 7. Cooker 8. Email 9. Flushing toilet 10. Mobile phone / smartphone 11. Tea and Coffee 12. Washing machine 13. Shower 14. Central heating 15. Painkillers 16. Fresh vegetables 17. Vacuum Cleaner 18. Kettle 19. Sofa 20. Shoes 21. Fresh fruit 22. Google 23. Car 24. Hair straighteners 25. Public transport 26. Laptop 27. Chocolate 28. DVD Player 29. Wristwatch 30. Make-up 31. Flat screen TV 32. Wedding ring 33. Tumble dryer 34. Bottled water 35. Ebay

36. Bicycle 37. Ipod 38. Air conditioning 39. Disposable nappies

40. Light bulbs 41. Spell-check 42. Sat Nav 43. Push-up bra 44. Nintendo Wii 45. iPad 46. Gym Membership 47. Season ticket to your football club 48. Freezer 49. Xbox 50. Twitter

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2035634/Facebook-vital-flushing-loo-say-Britons.html#ixzz1XXjt4HrM

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Bronze badge

Re: Re: Joe Average and his opinion

""What Joe Average 'knows' comes from the media (means: you) which gladly reproduce what is spoon-fed by them by the lobbying industry like to a parrot."

That isn't true any more. The genie is out of the bottle."

I recommend that the nay sayers read Fred Hoyle's "Energy or Extinction?: Case for Nuclear Energy" (There is an informative review here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Energy-Extinction-Case-Nuclear/dp/0435544314 ). Granted recent developments in, e.g., solar and wind power collection devices have changed the picture slightly, but his well thought out calculations and arguments remain sound. We face a catastrophic energy shortage, at the very same time that we have reproduced too much and show little sign of slowing down. Add to that ToniBler's policy of clandestine immigration and slack border controls, which increased our population by some 7.27% to a horrifying 61.5 million population, food shortages (as with energy we are not self sufficient in this department) and the upcoming phosphate shortage and the recipe is for worse strife than ever seen.

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Bronze badge

"Perhaps there's a little confirmation bias creeping in - crowd wisdom is fine as long as it's a crowd we agree with?"

Aka sample bias, in the humanities, hence my earlier reference to Fred Hoyle's book "Energy or Extinction?: The case for Nuclear Energy". What matters is the truth, not some assessment of the culturally relative truths of crowd data. The truth is that alternatives do not cut it, coal destroyed Scandinavian forests causing the so-called 'dash for gas' which is now running out. Fusion is still on an ever moving horizon. To paraphrase Hoyle, there is no time.

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Re: Facebook more vital than a flushing toilet

"I dispair. I really do."

I need insecure web facilities like I need a hole in the head. I killed FB off years ago and will not go back there again, ever.

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Meh

The genie is out of the bottle.

I presume you can show us pics of said Genie. Otherwise... well, you know.

My upvote goes to Davidoff. Sorry.

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Ah, The Daily Mail ... explains everything

I guess at least their readership can read - makes them mildly better than The Suns 'readership'... Although The Sun has a prettier page 3 than The Mail

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Germany has the right idea?

On this one issue no, it clearly doesn't.

As to relying on the intelligence of the Brits then clearly you can't - they are uneducated, mindless gulible idiots almost entirely to a man woman and child.

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Mushroom

Bogus sexist generalisation - do not read

Women think nuclear causes odd-shaped babies, which really really worries them; men don't care about babies of any kind so much? All sweeping generalisations are rubbish, I know.

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Anonymous Coward

Alternatively men are more easily swayed by alpha-male-ish articles aggressively mocking people who do not believe the right thing and praising those who express the 'correct' opinion as thoughtful and intelligent.

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In which case

you'd really think men would be more strongly against nuclear than women are -- have you *spent* any time reading greenie's opinion of nuclear power, and of people who argue in its favor?

Also, "alpha-male-ish"? Third time this week that shit's cropped up. Am I going to have to be hearing pick-up artist lingo from saddos for the next twenty years of my goddamned life?

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Alternatively alternatively

Nah. Women are just encouraged to have a different style about it.

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Anonymous Coward

Surely if it's Nuclear power

then it'd be alpha, beta and gamma male? With Cherenkov aftershave?

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Linux

@aaron

sorry, I think I just did it a fourth on a response above... I truly am sorry... ;)

nK

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Shoddy

"What the poll certainly indicates is that people are more rational than scaremongers suggest – and perfectly capable of performing risk analysis, weighing up the costs and benefits of a technology. "

Rubbish.

How irrational do these scaremongers suggest 'people' are?

And how does this show people are more rational than that?

And how do you know that this 41% minority is performing risk analysis? Is everyone who agrees with you (and me, as it happens) automatically and retrospectively brilliant?

"It's a striking contrast to Germany, where politicians bowed to the "Green" fringe "

It might be a stark contrast to Germany but we don't know because if there has been a similar poll there it isn't referenced.

There'd only be a stark contrast to what you say if our govt. determinedly rejects the Green "fringe" (not that painting this as a sensible, car driving, Top Gear types against sandal eating Greens is either helpful or accurate) and builds more nuke plants.

This is a silly, biased, patronising analysis and doesn't advance the cause of nuclear power one inch. The original Guardian article is better http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/sep/09/nuclear-power-popular-in-uk

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Trollface

Seconded. Writing bad articles is only going to do harm.

I'm starting to suspect Andy is actually a covert greenpeace member trying to carefully put everybody off nuclear power..

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Shoddy

Only a Guardian reader could think that "the original Guardian article" was actually the primary source for an opinion poll.

The Graun did employ the comfort blanket of a "social psychologist" who interpreted the results for us - which is always helpful. And you can't get more patronising than that.

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