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* Posts by bob rayner

5 posts • joined 7 Aug 2007

Public rejoices at new 'green' nukes

bob rayner

For those hung up on chernobyl

Interesting how people cherrypick cases to suit their argument.

Every year, more people are killed in coalmines than were killed by chernobyl. That's even before we consider the tens of thousands of people killed by emissions from coal-fired power stations. Oh, and they also release lots of radioactive materials into the air...

Of course, chernobyl was a poor design even by 1980s standards. Any new nuclear power station in Britain would have to meet much higher standards in almost every respect. Perhaps you'd like to use the Trabant and Lada as the basis for a critique of the 21st century car industry?

Unfortunately, "renewable" sources won't satisfy our electricity-generation needs any time soon, so we have a choice between fossil fuels or nuclear. In terms of environmental damage, what do you prefer? Pumping *billions* of tonnes of CO2 (and plenty of other nasties) into the air, or packaging a few tonnes of radioactive waste & putting them in a hole?

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Greens walk out of nuclear debate

bob rayner

Some replies...

1. "Nuclear power is "green". This is a flat out lie. It is a shed-load greener than fossil fuel, but you still have to build reactors (watt for watt, a lot less green that building windfarms)"

That's difficult to believe; how many resources would you have to consume to build a couple of GW worth of windfarms?

2. "Nuclear power is totally safe. But only on paper. In the real world, humans design, build and run the power stations, and we make mistakes."

Which is why modern reactor designs offer much more passive safety. Basic laws of physics are a lot more reliable than a complex engineered system, which is in turn a lot more reliable than a human twiddling dials.

3. "nuclear needs to be run by government, certainly not the dodgy private sector (therefore profit driven) outfits that the government are looking to employ, they have three mile chernobyl written all over them."

Why? Like all the scariest nuclear sites, Chernobyl was government-controlled. The government also tried to keep the accident secret. The outside world only found out when radiation alarms went off at a privately-run (and much safer) European nuclear site...

Needless to say, any future nuclear power station in the UK will have to meet vastly higher safety standards than chernobyl.

4. "Any new build will be subsidised (to 100%?) by the government (tax payer) as will decommisioning and spent fuel handling. No doubt the revenue from generation will go to a private operator. Also, the price per kwhr fro the consumer will be maintained artificially high so that said private operator can actually make a profit - nuclear is the most expensive method of electricity generation."

To put it charitably, you seem not to have read the consultation documents.

5. "There is estimated that there is 85 years worth of usable uranium deposits remain - assuming that demand does not increase..."

There may be 85 years easily-extracted supply of uranium at the current price. Once that runs out, there's lot's more that can be mined at a higher price (there were even mines in the UK which shut down because they were uneconomical). If the price went up a bit, no big deal; fuel is relatively small proportion of a nuclear generation's total costs. If fossil fuel prices went up, though, fossil-fuel-burning systems would be in worse trouble.

Oh, and there are alternative fuel cycles...

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bob rayner

Free, open consultation

You mean the consultation at http://nuclearpower2007.direct.gov.uk? It wasn't very well hidden. ;-)

I read all the documents. They seem pretty comprehensive and accurate. Having thought it through, and considered the evidence, I think that the consultation was well-balanced and (more imprtantly) that nuclear power is necessary.

Perhaps the Greens would like a consultation which pretends that (a) we can massively reduce electricity consumption, or (b) solar panels and windmills &c will suddenly get far more efficient and can be installed over more of the country, or (c) all these renewable-energy sources can be conjured up without producing any waste or pollution (or big bills).

It's not even a matter of the government building more nuclear power stations; it's about leaving the option on the table in case a power-generating business can put together a convincing safety case, is willing to pay for it, &c. I'm all in favour.

Nuclear waste? There's not much of it. We can put it at the bottom of a mineshaft, or reprocess it, or whatever. The only other way to supply the electricity we need is building fossil-fueled power stations, and their waste problem is much worse; they pump millions of tonnes of CO2 into the air.

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Church hall bans 'unchristian' yoga for nippers

bob rayner

Don't corrupt kids' minds with spiritual nonsense!

Keep 'em out of the church hall ;-)

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Orange dismantles Bristol Tower of Doom

bob rayner

Yes, there's a problem. How can we fix it?

I would suggest complaining to any media that distorted the situation, and/or giving feedback here: http://www.southglos.gov.uk/LocalDemocracy/LocalDemocComplaints/MakingAComplaint

It's all very well whipping up a little righteous outrage at NIMBYs who are either stupid or scientifically illiterate - but we probably won't influence many people if we keep it in the Register's comments, where most readers will just nod in agreement.

So, where are the most inaccurate media reports, and who should we contact to complain?

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