Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fukushima, nuclear energy and three follies

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The global warming narrative has spawned a dash for renewables.   But it has also contributed to the reconsideration of nuclear energy - which is generally seen as a very low carbon way of producing energy.

A paralysing fear is that of cataclysmic consequences should something go wrong.  The initial impression for many was that the disintegration of nuclear production at Fukushima in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami, would set back the recovering cause for nuclear.  Perhaps not.

Today's Guardian contains account of a Damascene conversion to nuclear by one independent minded green.  That person is none other than George Monbiot.  The full article is here but I will reproduce the killer paragraph which challenges the sentimental, doom distorted perspective adopted by many:

"A crappy old plant with inadequate safety features was hit by a monster earthquake and a vast tsunami. The electricity supply failed, knocking out the cooling system. The reactors began to explode and melt down. The disaster exposed a familiar legacy of poor design and corner-cutting. Yet, as far as we know, no one has yet received a lethal dose of radiation.
Some greens have wildly exaggerated the dangers of radioactive pollution."
Considered in a proper context, the anti-nuclear movement is all about exaggerated fears.  Note that the earthquake and the tsunami have probably led to a death toll of 20,000 and the disintegration of the nuclear plant has led to the death of - well, perhaps no one.

That should be another nail in the coffin of the credibility of Alex Salmond's anti-nuclear policies.

The last few weeks have provided a reminder of an earlier nail - the folly of being duped by dictator Gaddafi when the SNP were persuaded to release Megrahi on compassionate grounds when he supposedly had up to 'three months to live'.  That was in August 2009 - over 18 months ago.  Megrahi may have more of a challenge surviving the current bombing of Libya than prostrate cancer.

And these follies are added to the folly of enacting the 'groundbreaking' Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, demonising carbon on the basis of similarly flawed evidence.

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