February 23, 2005
Nuclear Now!

Nuclear Now! It's probably too late for anything else. We probably need these.

Fusion would be better, but that's jam tomorrow. Renewable would be better, but there's no way we can build enough of that in time. Cutting down on the energy that we use would be better, but people love their cars, TVs and refrigerators too much. We don't have to like it, but it seems to me that nuclear power is the only way to save the world at the moment.

Posted to Science and technology by Simon Brunning at February 23, 2005 04:29 PM

I continue to be bamboozled as to why renewable energy is not being treated as at least part of the way forward. It is (relatively) clean and no one has (yet) died because of it. The arguments about expense simply do not hold up, since if renewable sources got anything like the subsidies of the nuclear industry they'd be in the black easy. Is it because it doesn't involve bubbling green test tubes and men in white jackets looking clever? Or could it be because nuclear power has big lobbying power whereas all renewable energy has is greenies in corduroy jackets.

Arguments about the appearance of, for example, wind turbines ignore that fact that (a) we are (for some inexplicable reason) failing to develop wave energy and (b) stick the turbines in the North Sea where all the rigs now are and no one will even know they are there.

And if new houses were required to have solar panels on their roofs... etc... etc...


Posted by: Katherine on February 23, 2005 05:05 PM

Renewable energy certainly should be part of the solution - as large a part as possible, as should efficiency and lifestyle changes. But I no longer believe that they will be enough on their own, not in the real world.

Posted by: Simon Brunning on February 23, 2005 05:11 PM

I agree with Katherine- nuclear power only looks good when you ignore the massive subsidies it gets, amongst other reasons.
Like she said, if every new house had solar panels on the roof (which would still be cheaper than a slice of that 2-billion-per-nuke-plant) there would be a massive difference....

It's laziness and political lobbying by the big-industry, government supported nuclear industry that makes this _sound_ true.

Read yer New Scientist - it's not.

Posted by: Mark Matthews on February 23, 2005 06:24 PM

I see your point, but I'd be more willing to agree if there was a politically acceptable way to handle the spent fuel.

Posted by: Alan Green on February 23, 2005 10:58 PM

Well, it's clearly not a an answered question one way or the other, Mark - the President of The Royal Society no less thinks that nuclear power will be needed[1].

Spent fuel is a hard problem, Alan, but a solvable one.

[1] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2743515.stm

Posted by: Simon Brunning on March 9, 2005 03:18 PM
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