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Friday, December 16, 2005

PROFESSOR'S TWADDLE

This is a mischevious letter I put into the Independent in the firm conviction that they wouldn't print it. In theory when a clear error is found journalistic integrity should require them to publish but looking at their letters & editorial stance when it comes to non "consensus" views of greenery they are about as Independent as a left sock:
As a professor of renewable energy Professor Twidell, is perfectly entitled to ignore the facts about the low cost & high reliabliity of nuclear power in favour of saying that a windmill is an "ecological hand of human life" whatever that means, though any engineering student who said the same would be failed..

He is, however, displaying a surprising amount of ignorance, even for an ecologicaly aware person in saying that "every other form of life" lives without nuclear power. The fact is that along the mid atlantic rift many millions of species live entirely off the heat from volcanic vents. Such heat, of course, comes from the Earth's core, is maintained by natural radioactivity & has been sustained for billions of years. DNA evidence suggests that these creatures are the oldest species living & this may be how life came about.

The environment is perhaps a more complicated thing than "environmentalists" know.
the original letter to which this was a reply was:
Sir: James Lovelock's theory, that life on Earth optimises and controls our environment, is admirable ("The green man", 3 December). For me, it supports commitment to renewable energy. So how can Lovelock support nuclear power? Quoting from his writing, he sees "human inability to live in harmony with the Earth comes from our ignorance ..[of Gaia]". The solution lies in "what people do ... to reach symbiosis and homeostasis" with each other and the planet.

This means having our own lives and industry within ongoing natural processes. Renewable energy comes from energy already flowing in the natural environment; we use this, then put it back to continue its way to the stars. We add no pollution and we release no extra carbon; we participate in a planetary process. For me, a wind turbine is an ecological hand of human life. Like all hands, it should be efficient and not ecologically disruptive, but nevertheless part of our symbiotic life within nature.

Considering all renewable resources, modern technology allows humans sufficient for a sustainable economy, which we must keep intelligently in homeostasis with a healthy planet. Going nuclear separates us from every other form of life and encourages a parasitic human lifestyle; the very danger that Lovelock warns against.

PROFESSOR JOHN TWIDELL

VISITING PROFESSOR IN RENEWABLE ENERGY, READING UNIVERSITY

I have previously expressed my enormous respect for Professors of Mathematics & will happily extend that to physicists & those who crunch numbers generally. I feel no need to extend it to ignorami who believe it is part of their job to instruct their students to vote only for politicians who want to spend more on "renewables".

Comments:
While there are some differences in the British and American approaches to nuclear power, there are many simularities as well. From across the pond comes techno-thriller novel about the American nuclear power industry, written by a longtime nuclear engineer (me), and available at no cost on the net. This book provides an entertaining and accurate portrait of the nuclear industry today and how a nuclear accident would be handled. It is called “Rad Decision”, and is at RadDecision.blogspot.com.

A great way to learn about electric energy production and nuclear power in particular. (And if you find it useful, please pass the word.)
 
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