Postaday2011 – Nuclear power

The full title includes menace or the future.

I’m firmly in the ‘future’ camp. I believe that despite recent events and past horrors like Chernobyl the benefits of going nuclear outweigh the negative aspects of such a volatile material.
Back in the eighties I remember seeing a BBC Horizon programme about France and technology. I seem to recall that the French had invested heavily in building a number of nuclear power stations while we were still happily burning coal and gas and although many of those plants may be coming to the end of their useful life I don’t see too much about them scrabbling around wondering what to do next unlike here where the renewable / recyclable versus the traditional energy debate rumbles on incessantly. Ignoring the fact that we have closed almost all the coal mines and gas is running out, in the UK you will be hard pressed to find anyone who wants a wind farm or incinerator anywhere near where they live, these things are generally not designed to be great landmarks. There is some aesthetic beauty in a wind turbine farm but I may be in the minority of people who think so. I also rather like pylons.  There is a very strong argument for burning waste as a form of producing electricity but despite strict pollution controls something like 65,000 people signed a petition against a new project near KIngs Lynn in Norfolk recently.

We have to adopt the view that technology is best harnessed to our benefit and learn to construct power stations so that they cause the minimum impact of the environment. There is a trend towards building homes partially set in the ground, why can’t we adapt this to power stations? Nuclear plants need to be near the sea for cooling, why can’t we employ a really top notch architect to design the exterior so it becomes an attractive landmark rather than a blot on the landscape?

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