23 Jul 2007

Gordon Brown's great nuclear con trick

This is from Peter Tatchell

Gordon Brown says expanded nuclear power is essential to cut carbon
emissions and global warming. The Prime Minister is wrong. Roger
Higman, Campaigns Coordinator of Friends of the Earth, discusses with
Peter Tatchell the cheaper, greener and safer alternatives, such as
energy conservation, wind, wave, tidal, hydro, geo-thermal and solar

Click here to watch the programme:

Peter Tatchell writes:

The Prime Minister wants to build about 10 new nuclear stations, at a
construction cost of around £30 to £40 billion; plus tens of billions
more to decommission the reactors at the end of their working life and
to store their toxic radioactive waste for 20,000 years.

There are viable, practical alternatives. The government's Energy
Review in 2002 advised that the UK could cut its energy needs by
one-third through a comprehensive programme of energy conservation,
including double-glazing, loft insulation, energy-efficient boilers
and switching to low-energy light bulbs.

More efficient industrial motors in factories could enable us to save
enough electricity to shut down four nuclear power stations. If the
whole country switched to low energy light bulbs, we could save the
equivalent of the electricity generated by one nuclear power plant.

The government's own estimates, commissioned from the Carbon Trust,
suggest that the UK has the potential to secure all its energy needs
from renewable resources.

Off-shore wind farms could comfortably generate the same amount of
electricity as 12.5 nuclear power stations. Wave power could match the
electricity output of 8.5 nuclear reactors.

Tidal power is another major option. It could produce around 15% of
our electricity needs. Just one project, the proposed Severn estuary
tidal lagoons scheme, has the potential to fulfil 6% of the UK's
electricity demand. An additional 9% of UK demand could be met by
tidal schemes in the Thames, Humber and Mersey estuaries.

Other renewable sources include solar power. Within five years,
Germany will generate as much of its electricity from solar power as
we currently generate from nuclear (around 20%). We could match and
exceed Germany if we made solar tiles the universal, mandatory roofing
material for all domestic, industrial, commercial and public

Another non-nuclear alternative is rolling hydro power, which involves
placing turbines on river-beds to capture the power of river flows;
mini-hydro schemes; and combined heat and power stations to capture
and use the waste heat produced by energy generation.

A new frontier technology is hydro pressure from the gas pipe network.
Mini-turbines in gas pipes could utilise natural variations and
changes in gas pressure to produce electricity. This technology is
already being trialled successfully in the US, Switzerland and Italy.

Geo-thermal power has some potential in the UK, but our best bet would
to import from Iceland electricity generated from its geo-thermal (and
hydro) sources.

One other possible import is electricity produced by concentrated
solar power. This involves giant mirror farms in desert regions like
southern Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and north Africa,
which concentrate the sun's rays to create intense heat to drive
turbines and generate electricity. By covering less than 1% of the
world's desert regions with the concentrated solar power stations, we
could produce enough power to meet the entire world's electricity

Say no to Gordon Brown's nuclear con trick. It is not needed and not
honest. There are safer, cleaner and cheaper alternatives – lots of
them and they can produce all our energy needs in perpetuity.

To view the programme, click on this link:



Talking With Tatchell is broadcast every Friday night at 8.30pm on the
internet TV channel, www.18doughtystreet.com

Previous programmes are permanently archived. Type "Tatchell" into the
Search facility to access all past editions of Talking With Tatchell.


Peter Tatchell is the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East
http://www.greenoxford.com/peter and http://www.petertatchell.net


weggis said...

"Gordon Brown says expanded nuclear power is essential to cut carbon
emissions and global warming. The Prime Minister is wrong."

In which case the 74% of IET [formerly the IEE] experts who voted thus in this poll are also wrong!

"Do you believe nuclear generation is necessary to cut carbon emissions?"

Of course there may well be vested interests here, and we mustn't forget that people [including me, you, Peter and Prime Ministers] have a tendency to hear what they want to hear.

soundjat keita said...

Why not just use less energy? Does all the energy we now use make us happier than in the bad old days?

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