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Tuesday, January 15, 2008


This was in reply to a rather silly but long letter giving all the normal Luddite anti-nuclear scare stories. A slightly re-edited version of the original letter is in today's Scotsman to which I have also sent a re-edited reply.

In the first line of his long letter, David McEwan Hill says nuclear is "an unnatural, highly dangerous and highly expensive way of boiling vast amounts of water". It is somewhat unnatural. Nuclear reactors are only known to have occurred once in nature (in Gabon during flooding several thousand years ago).

Of course windmills do not occur in nature and are thus even more "unnatural". It is, however, a lie to say that nuclear is dangerous - it is, in fact, orders-of-magnitude safer than coal since coal kills 150,000 people a year and total nuclear deaths in the past 20 years were two in one accident in Japan - or to say that it is expensive, since there can be no denial that France has been producing nuclear electricity at half the price of coal and one-quarter that of wind.

Indeed, in pointing out that China and India are expanding their nuclear programmes, Mr Hill would clearly have to explain why they would do so if it were more expensive. Are these governments involved in some secret conspiracy to run their countries incompetently?

Mr Hill must be assumed to be unaware that the purpose of electricity generators (nuclear, coal or gas) is not to boil water - that is a side-effect - but to create electricity.

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