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Nuclear Drive : Barbecue Country

A number of media outlets have been skewered and grilled one more time in the last fortnight by the Nuclear industry and it’s paid-up or paid-to fans. It feels like the poor lamb hacks have been gambolling and frolicking too close to the fire.

Just getting a Press Release in the papers is not equivalent to convincing a critical mass of people to support your energy technology of choice. It’s like roasting and toasting a very dodgy piece of carcase/carcass and adding hot pepper sauce to hide the bacterial slime.

Even recruiting a senior former British Government Minister to the radioactive cause is not sufficiently influential for a good portion of the electorate. That’s like pulling some Amazon-killing soya-fed dead cow out of the freezer and finding it’s several years too old to eat.

Nuclear Power has a bad track record, and the last couple of years have been near-on laughable.

However, we do now finally have the answer to the question that’s been ringing down the halls : “where’s Malcolm Wicks ?” Why, he’s been at a few lunches with representatives of the World Nuclear Association, surely ?

And now he wants to throw an enormous sum of public money at glow-in-the-dark Nuclear Power. Will this have a better result than the bank bailout-handouts, do you think ?

Massive construction projects in a time of Recession. Hmm. Could work. But Nuclear Energy is so inflexible and fraught with risk that the projects may not complete.

If I were in charge, which of course, I’m not and never will be, I’d put my money on the safest, most responsible choices, rather than chase white elephants and lemon moneypits.

Less of the “the lights will go out” scare story and more of the ideas about curbing Energy Waste, please. Or we’ll all be barbecued.

“From The Times : August 5, 2009 : Nuclear power ‘needed to fill energy gap’ : Robin Pagnamenta, Energy Editor : Britain should treble the share of electricity it generates from nuclear power to avoid sleepwalking into a dangerous dependency on imported gas, Gordon Brown will be warned today. Malcolm Wicks, the Prime Minister’s special envoy on energy security, is to publish a report this morning arguing that the country’s national security is at stake and recommending an acceleration of plans to build a new generation of nuclear reactors…”

“UK should lock in gas contracts as supply wanes, says PM’s aide Malcolm Wicks : UK energy companies need to think about locking in long-term gas contracts in the interests of national security, as reliance on foreign supply increases, according to Gordon Brown’s top energy adviser. By Rowena Mason : Published: 7:20PM BST 05 Aug 2009 : In a report on energy security by Malcolm Wicks, a former energy minister, said the UK needs to nurture better relationships with gas exporters, Norway, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, while tripling nuclear capacity and pushing for renewable energy…”

“Britain must have ‘atomic ambition’ – with 40% of energy from nuclear : Date: 06 August 2009 : By Jenny Haworth : MORE than a third of the UK’s electricity should be generated from nuclear energy, an official report urged yesterday. Former energy minister Malcolm Wicks said between 35 and 40 per cent of electricity should be generated from nuclear energy after 2030. He said this would help to improve future energy security by decreasing reliance on imported gas, and cut greenhouse gas emissions. About 15 per cent of electricity in the UK is provided by nuclear. The Scottish Government has ruled out any new nuclear power stations being built north of the Border and intends to focus on renewables and clean-coal technology to meet climate change targets and achieve energy security. Mr Wicks said: “At a time when the UK is becoming increasingly reliant on imported fossil fuels, we need to ask whether the UK should be more ambitious on nuclear power. “When national security considerations are added to climate change exigencies, I believe the answer is yes.” ”

“The looming electricity crunch : Dark days ahead : Aug 6th 2009 : From The Economist print edition : A shortage of power-generation capacity could lead to blackouts across Britain—and a dangerous reliance on foreign gas … under Vladimir Putin Russia has proved itself an unreliable supplier, cutting gas to countries such as Ukraine and Belarus that have incurred the ire of the Kremlin. All this leaves Britain in a hole. The lights are dimming, but green targets are an argument against new coal plants, security-of-supply concerns make gas dicey, lack of time rules out nuclear, and worries about practicality dog renewables. The situation is so bad that many former fans are openly questioning Britain’s hands-off approach to energy, which it has spent the past decade trying to export, particularly to Europe. Lord Browne, a well-regarded former boss of BP who now heads the Royal Academy of Engineering, wants to see state-owned banks forced to invest in renewables and has spoken warmly of the dirigiste policies of Tony Benn, the hard-left minister who ran Britain’s energy department in the 1970s. Malcolm Wicks, who has twice been energy minister, warned Gordon Brown on August 5th that the reliance on “companies, competition and liberalisation” should be reassessed, and counselled state intervention to boost nuclear power…”

“Tories warn on nuclear power plans : By Ed Crooks, Energy Editor : Published: August 6 2009 03:00 : Proposals to double the proportion of electricity generated by nuclear power have been criticised by the Conservative party, which warned they could open the door for government subsidies for new reactors. A report on energy security commissioned by the prime minister and published yesterday argued for an “aspiration” that nuclear power would provide 35-40 per cent of Britain’s electricity after 2030, up from 12-15 per cent today…”

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