Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The nuclear option

The announcement that Hartlepool is one of the possible sites for a future nuclear power station is bound to generate a fair bit of heat locally before it comes anywhere near to generating electricity. It's not unexpected of course - any site which already has a nuclear station must have been in the running because the issues of geography and so on have already been resolved to the satisfaction of the authorities.
I'm not one of those who absolutely oppose nuclear power, but I do oppose using any process which produces a byproduct that doesn't have an end use. Nuclear waste is enormously difficult to deal with, we haven't yet resolved the issues of how to store it successfully for the necessary thousands of years before it decays to harmless and the technical problems of decommissioning nuclear stations arent' yet fully solved. Given all that, I don't see how we can possibly contemplate building more stations, generating more waste and leaving our grandchildren a toxic legacy to solve. Then on top of that we have the considerable carbon diocide emissions of the construction process - all that concrete, all the fuel coming from overseas because we don't have native supplies.
Add to that the fact that we need to get smarter about tracking radioactive material around the globe and keeping it out of the hands of potential evil-doers and I ask myself what we could achieve on greener technologies with the same amount of investment.
No - I still need convincing that the nuclear option is the right one.
Though given this story maybe miracles do happen.

1 comment:

neil craig said...

Carbon capture, the official LibDim favourite would produce 160 million tons od CO2 to be safely buried somewhere, not for hundreds og years but forever. Glad you ar not absolutely anti-nuclear. In that case you must have put up 10s of thousands of blogs about the evils of carbon capture since it is that much more difficult.

No? What a surprise.