Monday, March 30, 2009
"On Saturday evening, the WWF Earth Hour campaign asked for lighting in homes, public buildings, monuments and structures to be switched off for 60 minutes, providing a temporary return to a world of pre-industrial darkness. We were told by WWF that "switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming"...
Perhaps instead of sitting in the dark, we should have been celebrating human inventiveness and the overwhelmingly civilising influence which large-scale energy production has brought to society...
Providing a copious and resilient supply of low-cost clean energy is entirely possible, dispensing with the need for socially regressive demand reduction measures. We only have to look to France, with cheap, near-zero-carbon electricity production to see the result of innovative, long-term and technically well-informed decision-making. In contrast, since deregulation, innovation in the UK energy sector has largely consisted of combining electricity and gas bills, a displacement activity of financial engineering rather than practical engineering and a symptom of the wider malaise in the UK economy...
Switching off lights ... represented a wave of darkness sweeping round the globe, dimming symbols of genuine human achievement at a time when we need to call on our technical ingenuity and inventiveness to meet the challenges of the future."
To be fair though government owned buildings may have switched off I don't know anybody else who did.
I would like to point out that France is the only member of the Western Alliance that chose to pursue nuclear power on a large scale. South Africa was the only White-run country to achieve liquid fuel independence. SA also developed the pebble bed reactor that was invented in Germany. Both were outcasts from the Western Alliance, France for withdrawing from NATO and SA because of Apartheid.
France even had the good sense to torpedo the Rainbow Warrior boat that Greenpeace was using to disrupt a nuclear test.
Clearly, membership in the West no means suicide, not progress.
The thing that gets me is that Scotland, except for the Glasgow-Edinburgh belt is almost empty. Indeed our ,ajor sign of industry is the flares from oil rigs in the middle of the North Sea.
Your point about those countries whose ruling classes gave up sovereignty to NATO/EU having lost their ambition is an interesting one I had not thought of before. It also applies to Israel & Switzerland which are not members of either group & to Sweden & Finland which have joined the EU but were not members of NATO. Ireland was a member of NATO but a fairly nominal one & does have a history which makes them cautious about any organisation Britain is in.
Israel hasn't defeated the Arabs openly since it gave up its territory in the Camp David Accords. Switzerland has joined the UN. Neither has furthered the cause of nuclear power.
Have you heard of the pebble bed reactor?
I have heard of the pebble bed reactor & as a safe system which doesn't require particularly high engineering to run it I think it is one good way to go.
Britain could begin work on the PB reactor this month if it would offer asylum to the engineers in South Africa who worked on the Apartheid era project. In fact, instead of fueling the reactor with enriched uranium Britain's old plutonium making reactors could be kept online, with no need to build a new reactor.
I suspect new reactors would prove cheaper in the long run in the same way that a new car is ultimately cheaper than endlessly repairing an old one. However making the decision to build is more politically difficult than linping along - as our government's decision not to close Hunterston in 2011 but not to allow new build proves.
2. I believe that Britain should build new reactors to generate power, but plutonium fuel can be made by one of Britain's existing weapons reactors. If an existing reactor is used to generate fuel, then there would be no four year wait for a facility to make fuel. At a later date the ageing breeder reactor can be replaced.