You report energy minister Richard Harrington as asserting that critics of nuclear power were “naïve and simplistic.” (“Revival for reactors,” Business Section, 10 December 2017; ) https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/hitachi-boss-hiraoki-nakanishi-ups-the-ante-over-10bn-wales-nuclear-site-kfffgkknh), as he advocated further development of nuclear.
Mr Harrington has only been energy minister since 14 June this year. His background before he entered Parliament in 2010 was in property development. In university, he studied jurisprudence at Oxford. He has no background whatever in energy policy.
I was appointed by one of his predecessors as energy minister, Charles Hendry, as one of two non-governmental organization (ngo) representatives to the minister’s Geological Disposal Implementation Board for long lived radioactive waste, the remaining dozen being representatives from the nuclear industry.
My abiding experience on that Board was the number of times over three years participation the almost Panglossian predictions of success of the nuclear sector turned out to be wrong, and the more cautiously critical contributions of the ngos turned out to be right.
Eventually the minister wound up the Board as he realised the UK was still years away from any form of “implementation.”
Personally, I have forty years’ experience (including a PhD in nuclear reactor choice) in analyzing nuclear energy policy - in the UK and abroad - and have published and spoken widely on the issue.
Mr Harrington would be wise to sound out the wider views of nuclear critics, whose predictions have a forty-year record of much more accuracy than nuclear advocates.