Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Can we not just say no to nuclear?

We heard news yesterday that the Japanese company Hitachi had sent officials to the UK this week after taking over a site for a proposed Nuclear Power Station in the UK.
Officials from the company met local groups and politicians at the Anglesey ‘Horizon’ development, where a new £8bn project to replace the current Wylfa plant is planned.
If built, the construction phase could lead to 6,000 new jobs for locals in Wales.
For me, I am wary of nuclear energy. Safety, environmental concerns and the cost are just some of my worries, and I think recent incidents have highlighted the wider worries of the public.
Just last year we saw the effects of a tsunami in Japan, and the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Although the effects of that were mainly down to the tsunami, fears about nuclear were heightened after the disaster.
I’ve always taken a negative stance against nuclear. It’s dangerous, it’s temperamental and it does not help the environment. It might not release any Co2 emissions, but the toxic by-product from these factories is unstable and, in the case of Japan and Chernobyl, possibly deadly.
But it seems the UK government are pretty keen with the idea. Faced with mounting pressure from Brussels to cut Co2 emissions, rather than focus on renewable energy sources like wind farms and solar energy, to government would rather subsidise nuclear.
In a letter obtained by the Independent, sent last week, energy experts and academics said that the government would underwrite the cost of new nuclear power stations in the UK, despite originally saying that that they would never subsidise energy.
In a u-turn considered by Energy Minister John Hayes, the deal would see the public pay through taxes any budget overruns or building delays.
Already two energy companies have dropped out of the Anglesey site, blaming the economic downturn and the aftermath of Fukushima. If the government offer money to help towards the construction, then a private company is much more likely to build a site.
Which is why I was shocked yesterday to hear that a Japanese company (might not be significant, but you can’t help but link it to Fukushima) were arriving in the UK, which seems to confirm the reports from the Independent.
The deal with Hitachi will see £700m be brought to the table, with the plan to also build a new station at Oldbury, Glocestershire.
It amazes me that the government could take this stance. Why can we not subsidise solar energy? Remember that story last year about the Isle of Wight wind turbine factory facing closing down due to lack of trade? Why can’t the government subsidise a UK company that are investing in safe, reliable energy resources rather than a foreign company?
The public seem to be of the view that solar and wind farms are ugly and a blight on our picturesque landscape. Is this to say a nuclear power station is not? Give me a wind turbine any day over a dirty, concrete cooling tower.
At the end of the day, if we do not start investing in renewable energy, the environment will be ruined. Global warming is happening, you just have to see the adverse weather in the US right now to appreciate the fact that Mother Nature is changing. And she’s getting angrier! But nuclear energy is simply not the answer, and I really hope the government are met with fierce opposition for these dangerous plans.
Pictures courtesy of Wikipedia

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