Nuclear Family

! This post hasn't been updated in over a year. A lot can change in a year including my opinion and the amount of naughty words I use. There's a good chance that there's something in what's written below that someone will find objectionable. That's fine, if I tried to please everybody all of the time then I'd be a Lib Dem (remember them?) and I'm certainly not one of those. The point is, I'm not the kind of person to try and alter history in case I said something in the past that someone can use against me in the future but just remember that the person I was then isn't the person I am now nor the person I'll be in a year's time.

No Mandate Brown will announce today that the British government intends to build nuclear power stations in England.

He won’t be making the same announcement about Scotland, of course, because it’s a devolved matter and the Scottish Parliament has decided that Gordon Brown’s constituents and their fellow countrymen won’t be getting nuclear power stations.

Now, I agree with building nuclear power plants.  They produce very little pollution during their operation if you discount the radioactive waste that is left over once they’re decommissioned.  Nuclear plants have an excellent safety record, they don’t rely on fossil fuels and the electricity they produce is reliable and relatively cheap.  And I’m not a NIMBY either, there has been talk of replacing the Ironbridge B coal-fired power station with a nuclear plant and that’s close enough to my house for me to be able to see the plume of smoke it produces round the clock.

However, like I said the other day when the Goblin King announced that health screening was to be increased in England, I don’t care whether what he is announcing is a good thing, he has no mandate to do it.

Socialist Unity points out that this isn’t a devolved issue in Wales so it would be possible for the British government to build nuclear plants there.  But they won’t build them in Wales because the Welsh government doesn’t want it and the last thing Liebour wants is to lose more support in Wales where they have already been forced to form a coalition government with the nationalist Plaid Cymru.  Going against the wishes of the Welsh government on such an important issue will seriously damage Liebour and put them in the nightmare position of losing control of both Wales and Scotland, the source of their Westminster majority.

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  1. Aaron (72 comments) says:

    I read a comment in the paper yesterday, stating that anyone thinking of voting Conservative at the next GE has a short memory. Not sure what that says about people considering voting for Labour. Just further proof (as if we needed it) of the contempt that this and the past few administrations hold for the English.

  2. axel (1214 comments) says:

    I think this is a good thing, scotland has lots of coasts, mountains and country side to build things like windmill wave generators and hydro electrical water pumps and i think we should be encouraged to do this.

    Renewable technology needs investigated and developed, as does Nuclear and by the crappy nature of our governments, I think we will get better results from both with independent developement.

  3. axel (1214 comments) says:

    Hydro electric.

    Places like birmingham will use a lot of water and it will flow down hil from the hills/moutains, why is it not connected up to water wheels and used for hydro electric?

    Several million tons a day, even at a shallow gradient will still produce mega wattage, I wonder why this has never been considered?

    Or think of Manchester\Liverpool and the hills behind them!

  4. axel (1214 comments) says:

    Nuclear is not neccesarily bad and neither is renewable neccesarily good but what haver learned from our history is that if we spread our thoughts and researches over several areas, we end up pissing the time and money away.

    Somehow, england needs to move the Welsh into developing the coal option, dirty smelly and foul and by going nuclear, you may do it.

    Once the real environomental impact of windmills comes into play they will seriously lose favour

  5. axel (1214 comments) says:

    And another thing……

    My head is really up my ass today, i am very muddled.

    The other advantage of Nuclear is this, because it takes so long to get organised by the time you are ready to actually start the work, you can learn a whole pile of cool stuff from us and our windmills and cherry pick the best ideas, if indeed there are any.

  6. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    There are several problems with windmills:

    1. They only produce a relatively small amount of power
    2. They have to be built away from civillisation which means that because of the low power produced, a large proportion of the power is lost through radiation en-route to the “grid”
    3. They are disproportionately expensive compared to other forms of power generation
    4. They are an unreliable source of power because they only work when it’s windy
    5. They are unpopular

    And with coastal hydro-electric plants:

    1. They are usually built away from civillisation which means that because of the low power produced, a large proportion of the power is lost through radiation en-route to the “grid”
    2. They are an unreliable source of power because they only work when a strong tide is turning
    3. They are disproportionately expensive compared to other forms of power generation

  7. axel (1214 comments) says:

    It is always windy up north, however, there is no connection to the National Grid and they are bloody noisy too. They have quite a fatl eefect on birds as well.

    I think the Shetland channel is a good place for tidal power as there is always a current flowing through, west to east as i recall and they eat fish and seals.

    No, by hydro electric i meant gravity drop water in the glens.

    What do you think the best option is?

  8. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    Are there big enough rivers in the glens to produce a useful amount of electricity? The problem is that they would be miles away from civillisation and you lose too much of the electricity produced through heat and static.

    The best solution is nuclear. The only problem with nuclear is the waste when the reactor is decommissioned but that can already be taken care of now and in future it’ll be even easier as technology moves on.

  9. Kevin Fulcher (20 comments) says:

    Not sure you’re right about the Welsh issue, last year there was a big demonstration on Anglesey in favour of a new nuclear power station, Wylfa ‘B’, as the existing Magnox station, due to be de-commissioned is a major source of employment on the island.
    Scotland is slightly complicated by the fact that energy policy is a UK parliament responsibility, but planning is devolved, ie if the UK government order a new station in Scotland they would have to use the reserve powers in the 1998 Act to overrule the Scottish Executive, but there’s a fat chance of that happening- Should just charge the Scots 50% more for their electricity. Cheers, Kevin F.

  10. axel (1214 comments) says:

    the problem with the glens is, there is a huge gap in the national grid, in more or less the middle of scotland.

    However, Hydro Electric, 80% of Glasgows drinking water comes from Loch Katrine and has a mean drop of 450 metres, that must be worth a lot of power?

  11. axel (1214 comments) says:

    To kevin, we are lucky at the moment, we still export electric, so i think the refusal for nuclear is just a populist rabble rousing statement, that has no real effect.

  12. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    Kevin, that’s not strictly true. The Electricity Act 1989 allows Scotland to veto power stations that have a capacity exceeding 50MW. That’s on top of the devolved planning laws. Of course the UK government has the ability to overrule the Scottish Executive by calling in the application but it’s not going to happen, not when there’s nobody to stop them building them in England. I hear what you’re saying about Magnox but that’s only one small part of Wales and the Welsh government is opposed to nuclear power in Wales.

    Axel, I don’t know how deep the lake would have to be to accommodate a hydro-electric dam or how much power it could produce. It depends on how much water there is in the lake and how deep and narrow the exit is.

  13. KeithS (80 comments) says:

    “I don’t know how deep the lake would have to be to accommodate a hydro-electric dam or how much power it could produce. It depends on how much water there is in the lake and how deep and narrow the exit is.”

    Nor do I. But I do know that the 3 gorges dam in China, which is immense, was going to produce enough power for the Chinese to export it. Needless to say, it didn’t quite work out that way, which is why they are continuing to build a new coal-fired power station every week.

  14. Kevin Fulcher (20 comments) says:

    Thanks, Wonko, for correcting the inaccuracy. Personally, I am very much in favour of nuclear, but it looks as if we will get all its disadvantages, whilst the Welsh and Scots share the benefits without making any contribution, so nothing new there then.
    Here in Kent we are threatened with a vast wind farm on Romney Marsh, an area of beautifully unique character (see this link for some idea
    AND a new nuclear station at Dungeness. Well, I know what I’d go for, Dungeness all the time. The waste problem has solutions, it’s just that they’re either very expensive (vitrification) or need maintaining for a very long time, which is also very expensive. No mandate says that commercial operators will have to bear all these costs. Flying porcines, anyone? Cheers, Kevin F.

  15. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    Depleted Uranium can be re-used in anti-tank ammo and as fuel for fast neutron reactors so it’s not as if the “waste” will all go to waste. What’s left after the by-products have been re-used as much as possible can be vitrifed as you mentioned earlier. About 97% of the waste can be re-used. It takes about 1,000 years for the waste to decay to naturally occuring levels of radioactivity so there is a storage issue but in time I don’t doubt that we will find better ways of re-using or otherwise dealing with nuclear waste or we will find alternative, reliable power sources.

    Nuclear is solving one problem and creating another but the problem of what to do with nuclear waste is at least deferred for a considerable time.

  16. axel (1214 comments) says:

    Loch katrine supplies 50 million gallons of water a day to glasgow that translates to approx 225,000 tonnes of water a day and it is all down hill, that must be worth converting into electric!

    2.6 tons a second, what does that convert to in megawatts?

    I’m sure there are equally impressive figures to be gained from the english cities/hills too, what is the problem with it?

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