Notes from Catherine Rowett, former Green Party MEP for East of England and deputy coordinator of the Eastern Region Green Party*(UK). Biographical reflections on life as an MEP. Longer reflections and discussions on issues relating to policy, the good life, justice, equality, anti-austerity economics and the future of the planet. This is also a forum for exchanging ideas on how to tread lightly on the planet and avoid supporting exploitation and corrupt practices. Here we go...

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Nuclear Power?


No no

No no no

This government doesn't seem to understand what the word "necessary" means. Nothing, no kind of hypothetical necessity whatever, could ever make it "necessary" to add new nuclear power stations. Rather, it seems clear that it is absolutely necessary that we should not do so.

And how conceivably could the cost of decommissioning be added in to the costs born by the companies? Those costs are incalculable. It must be a logical impossibility to undertake to pay them.


Tiger said...

For an opposing view (which you may wish to answer point by point) see Christopher Booker's piece in yesterday's Sunday Telegraph:;jsessionid=URUGSXPRADV1XQFIQMFCFFWAVCBQYIV0?xml=/news/2008/01/13/nbook113.xml

Tiger said...

Sorry, I didn't format that link very well, but if you paste it into a browser it should work (not helpful that Blogger says "You can use some HTML tags" without listing which they are).

For all his pro-nuclear bombast Mr Booker does raise the serious question how the shortfall in electricity supply is to be made up once the senescent coal and nuclear plants are decommissioned. And there will be even more demand for electric power as transport increasingly involves electrified railways and trams and vehicles fuelled by hydrogen, which is produced by electrolysis.

I'm sure most of the need could be met by renewables (Britain is not only the windiest country in Europe, but probably has the longest useful coastline), but with present government policies that isn't going to happen soon.

Catherine Rowett said...

Effectively what Christopher Booker is saying is that of course Nuclear Power is necessary because if we didn't have it we'd have to pay more for our electricity and we wouldn't be able to rush around in fast cars and fly all over the world in aeroplanes which we like doing. Now the reasoning is that if we are to continue to do that (which evidently we must be allowed to do or life won't be worth living) we must have hydrogen powered vehicles (that much seems to have been conceded to the environmental lobby). But now in order to do that we must have lots of cheap electricity, because making hydrogen is an extravagant business. And if we are to do that affordably we need lots of power stations, and they mustn't be expensive to build or expensive to run, or dependent on foreign imports of gas.
Well that is roughly what I mean by a "hypothetical necessity". That is, x is necessary if we are to have y. But the "if" has got to be sufficiently important to justify the condition, and the condition has got to be morally and practically realistic, if it is to be at all impressive as a kind of necessity. If I said "If we are to have cheap goods we must enslave the workers" this would not thereby make it necessary to enslave the workers. No more does it follow from "if we are to have cheap hydrogen-fuelled cars we must have nuclear power" translate into "we must have nuclear power".