Nuclear is not the future, says Lucy P.
It was never going to be easy to persuade a local council to allow the government to build a nine-square-mile storage facility for Britain’s nuclear waste beneath their towns and cities. In fact the only taker, Cumbria County Council, has now withdrawn after the locals protested - leaving the Government with the problem of having tonnes of radioactive waste and nowhere to bury it.
The search for volunteer sites began in 2008 and the lucky council that agreed would gain certain benefits, such as money for transport, public service infrastructure and housing, but unsurprisingly there are now no takers to hold hazardous material for the next 100,000 years.
After the Cumbrian withdrawal, the government has the tricky job of persuading another council to risk the wrath of its citizens and invite in the diggers, because they have already made the decision that the future is nuclear and plan to build several new nuclear power plants resulting in an increase of nuclear waste which they now have nowhere to store.
BP's Statistical Review of World Energy shows that the world still has enough oil reserves to provide 40 more years of consumption at current rates, so with this resource rapidly depleting, and the stuff that we have getting ever more hazardous to get at, the move is away from fossil fuels with nuclear energy being hailed as the saviour. But although nuclear fuel is greener and doesn't pollute the atmosphere, the kicker is that we have to poison the ground and make patches of our planet uninhabitable to achieve it.
My question is why, with the massive financial cost of building the plants (approximately £2bn each) and the environmental problems of disposing of the spent fuel, is nuclear the answer when there are other cheaper, safer and never-ending resources available?
Approximately 71 percent of the earth's surface is covered by oceans, and as long as the earth continues to turn, there will be waves that could be used to generate power. As long as we have a sun heating the planet, we will have wind and solar energy.
Wave, solar and wind power used in tandem would create an endless and safe supply of energy. The simple fact is that power plants in the UK are being shut down, either through European legislation on emissions or sheer old age, and we need to find replacement power sources and nature provides us with abundant and safe resources which won’t render parts of our country uninhabitable for the next 100,000 years.
So why are we focusing on nuclear and not ploughing our money into researching these renewable sources instead?
Lucy P writes commentary on news, politics and media on her blog Falling on a Bruise.
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