Positive Energy

Friday, May 25, 2007

17. Other Conditions

Are there other conditions that you believe should be put in place before giving energy companies the option of investing in new nuclear power stations? (for example, restricting build to the vicinity of existing sites, or restricting build to approximately replacing the existing capacity)

Yes - new nuclear power stations should be built underground, in the middle of towns and cities. This eliminates the need for ugly and inefficient transmission lines, and makes available the heat released from the turbines for uses within the city such as heating buildings. It also makes it easier to monitor and protect the reactors from terrorist attacks. The UK government operates nuclear powered submarines, where people live safely, close to the reactor. This proves that it is feasible to place new reactors in the middle of towns.

The openness of the nuclear industry should be increased. Full information about how nuclear reactors work must be provided on the internet giving enough details to be thoroughly reassuring. The UK government should review such sites for completeness and accuracy. Tours should be given regularly, and curriculum material should be prepared for schools. A much more open approach would really help the public accept this technology.

The UK government intends to force nuclear power companies to pay for decommissioning and waste management up front. That would be fine if the same rules applied to all the other energy producing technologies. For example, wind turbines should be forced to retain the carbon dioxide released by their coal burning backup systems, and pay for this containment technology up front. Wind turbines should be forced to have bird kill rates similar to nuclear power, and to pay exorbitantly up front if they fail to achieve this. And all hydro electric systems should be hit with complete site restoration charges in advance. Coal should be forced to have its fuel produced without killing miners, and forced to pay for this safety up front. It is OK to collect this money in advance, as long as every technology is required to be as safe, clean, and sustainable as nuclear power.

What people do not want is the fear of nuclear weapons. The UK government has not made clear how it will realize the benefits of commercial nuclear power without facilitating the proliferation of weapons. The UK government should abandon all development of new nuclear weapons, and focus on the research needed for commercial power. This dramatic step forward would be more significant than anything that could be done on the global warming front.

The nuclear power industry is international in scope. The UK government must be actively involved in international activities to ensure the success of its domestic nuclear initiatives. The key requirements are outlined at:


Briefly, the requirements are:
- global cooperation on safety and security
- shared information about component quality
- workforce development
- infrastructure development in other countries
- Multinational Design Evaluation Program


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