Monday, 8 February 2021

Nuclear daylight RABery

Letter sent to the Daily Express newspaper: The Daily Express is to be congratulated on launching its important new Green Britain Revolution campaign (front page and inside, 8 February 2021; https://www.express.co.uk/news/nature/1394652/Green-Britain-campaign-daily-express-pollution-wildlife-nature-boris-johnson). One issue overlooked is nuclear, which ministers are promoting on the spurious grounds that it saves carbon dioxide emissions. Nuclear power plants use uranium as a fuel. This has to be mined, processed at site called milling (usually very far away from the UK), transported thousands of miles, enriched ( to make it more energy "potent") fabricated into fuel, and after irradiation in a reactor, actively stored at the reactor site to let the very hot fuel cool down, then transported to a long term storage site, conditioned, made into a radioactive waste package, and stored for a very long-time or disposed of in a giant underground series of interconnected caverns, called a repository. At each point in this production and use chain, very significant quantities of carbon dioxide is emitted in the industrial processing. To describe this as "zero -carbon" is both an abuse of the term and the intelligence of British voters and Express readers. Ministers are on record as suggesting the may “invest” tens of £billions taxpayers money in the Wylfa Newydd, a nuclear project in North Wales abandoned by Japanese company Hitachi last month because it was far too expensive (at £25 billion) or Sizewell C in Suffolk, where the French Government company EDF (Electricit√© de France) is pressuring the UK government to agree to a so-called Regulated Asset Base (RAB) method of funding, which means the people who pay for the electricity first pay out the £ billions investment money up front, thus taking all the risk, while EDF earns all the profits! Green entrepreneur Dale Vince is right that the big climate conference (COP26 ) in Glasgow in November will be an excellent opportunity for the UK to showcase British green energy technology. Nuclear is not one of them!

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