Thursday, 22 September 2016

Pressurised To React

The new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point is to go ahead. I know it's not today's news, but I've prioritised my condemnation of the UN and events in Syria. Of course there's a link between nuclear power and nuclear weapons, something which caused so much angst over Iran. I propose another link, an economic one as it pertains to the UK.

I blame Gordon Brown for much of our own inability to do anything without selling off the family jewels, to follow on from our gold which he more or less gave away. In the past we built our own power stations and the profits stayed in this country. Would we not do that now if there was anything left in the coffers? If we scrapped Trident we could build our own power stations and the profits could stay here. Nuclear weapons don't earn a return and in the event of a nuclear war Armageddon would be the end of us whether we joined in the stupidity or not.

Hinkley Point will produce the most expensive power in the history of power generation (if it works), two thirds of the investment comes from France, how that relationship will blossom or wither when Article 50 is triggered who knows. The remaining third comes from China, a country with an outstanding human rights record and far more akin to us in outlook than anyone in France, Germany, Spain, Italy....

There are more reasons to be concerned, many more in fact. Hinkley Point relies on new and unproven technology which has yet to produce a single unit of electricity anywhere in the world. Pressurised reactors are in the pipeline in both France and Finland, both are years behind schedule AND billions of pounds over budget, something that's never happened to any project approved by our politicians of course.

Bradwell in Essex and Sizewell in Suffolk are next in line. It is estimated that Hinkley Point alone will cost consumers an extra thirty billion pounds in energy bills in coming years, that's without it going over budget and without taking Bradwell and Sizewell into account. The problem is that our politicians don't understand the need for strategy, or leadership come to that. They had no strategy for Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya, they have no strategy for airport expansion and they have no strategy for the power we need in the modern world.

As individuals we can have a strategy and I'd recommend solar panels on the roof as a start, and lots of 'em, not just because other countries will be pulling the strings but because it will get out of hand, guaranteed. As for the government I'd like to see more interest in renewables, what about research into tide power, we're an island with a huge tidal range, pilot scheme anyone? In the meantime short term investment in any technology known to deliver, proven, as clean as possible and where costs can be calculated accurately, I'd like us to forget Trident, invest and reap the benefit of infrastructure investment for ourselves.

Did I mention we should leave the Security Council!

Malcolm Snook Writer

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