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UK Sticks With Nuclear Power

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the stay-calm-and-carry-iodine dept.

Power 334

Coisiche writes "Despite recent events in Japan and the certain public outcry that it will generate, the UK government proposes to build new nuclear power stations. Well, earthquakes and tsunamis are very rare here."

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Good! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36565922)

Good!

Re:Good! (0)

lexsird (1208192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566490)

Indeed! But on that note how evolved is nuclear power these days? Surely we have learned how to make really snazzy ones? I would think the Brits would be investing in wind farming or some tidal generators considering the brutal seas they have around them to the North.

Isn't it about time to get those Tesla Files out that the FBI snagged from his estate when he died? Broadcast power was something he was into, but they couldn't figure out how to bill for it. With broadcast power you can run the world on goofy cheap energy, clean as well. Except I do have some questions what that kind of RF would do to organisms on the planet? Speaking of RF on this planet, I wonder if what we dump out now in RF effects anything obscure like, our DNA or something on a low level like that. Who needs bees anyway?

Besides, doesn't it seem like all the zombie movies from Britain aren't as cheesy as American ones? Shawn of the Dead, nuff said? Anyway, I digress. Jolly good show old chaps. Hip hip hurray! Hmm...say, anyone got a new algorithm for factoring insurance risks in Britain due to radiation? I wonder if they nationalized their power industries yet? You can't sell insurance to people who just tell you to sod off, they are the government. Right? No insurance=crazy savings? Nah, better get some insurance. Or just build plants overboard so if it blows, it cracks the planet in half, killing off 99.97% of the population.

Come on Brits, where is the innovation?

Re:Good! (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566662)

Our electrical companies have been in the private sector since the 80s, apart from the nuclear part which was divided up into two parts: the electrical generation side and the disposal side. Guess which side the taxpayers got to pay for.

Re:Good! (4, Informative)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566708)

Sure we invest in wind farms and tidal generators. I work for a company that has designed and is building a tidal turbine, and I've heard talk about wind energy projects. I still think it's important to continue with nuclear as well. I'm glad that our government doesn't seem as dumb and panicky as certain others.

Obvious (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36565928)

The UK, like many countries, has committed to a substantial drop in CO2 emissions. Nuclear is obviously going to have to be a major component in that.

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36566100)

Why is that obvious? Norway gains more than 90% of their electricity from hydro power. It's only obvious for people without imagination.

Re:Obvious (5, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566138)

Had a look at a topographical map of Norway lately? Now, compare it to one of the UK.

Hydro power doesn't work everywhere in the world.

-jcr

Re:Obvious (4, Informative)

rainmouse (1784278) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566454)

Had a look at a topographical map of Norway lately? Now, compare it to one of the UK.
Hydro power doesn't work everywhere in the world.

-jcr

Not to mention the fact that the UK has 15.25 times the population of Norway.

Re:Obvious (3, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566718)

Pah, like he said, you lack imagination! If we build giant funnels over the beaches, we can catch all the rain and use it for hydro power generation!

Re:Obvious (1)

teab v1.0 (764549) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566150)

A large chunk of the UK (where a lot of the population is) is a bit flatter and drier than Norway... Not to mention that

Re:Obvious (3, Insightful)

geckipede (1261408) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566188)

Norway has less than a tenth the population of the UK, approximately similar land area, and a far more significant snowmelt contribution to their precipitation. Hydro works for them in a way that it wouldn't for us.

The UK is committing to heavy use of renewable power in the form of wind turbines, but we are a small island with a huge power demand, we need to follow every avenue that we reasonably can do in power generation.

Re:Obvious (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566208)

Renewables take space.

The UK has 255 people per square km. Norway has 13!

Re:Obvious (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566668)

And we're barely self-sufficient. We would have to be a huge, huge net exporter of power for that to be a viable solution to everyone else. It's the hydro power that's enabled us to be such a big oil and gas export nation, because we haven't needed it ourselves. Sadly that's dwindling away, but we're still in a far better position than most any country for the upcoming oil crisis.

Thorium anyone? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36565972)

With the recent shit storm of FUD out there concerning nuclear power, I am shocked that there isn't a more vocal promotion of building/funding/using thorium salt reactors by the "scientific community". Although no technology is 100% safe, this seems to be the best middle ground when it comes to generating energy while not completely ruining the environment.

Re:Thorium anyone? (1)

EdZ (755139) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566252)

There is. However, because of so little interest in it up to this point, it would have to go through the test reactor phase for a decade or two before being commercially viable.

Re:Thorium anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36566450)

"scientific community"

The people I think of when I think "scientific community" in quotes are the people that have no real scientific background yet argue to the bitter end about global warming and immunization. Not sure if that was what you were going for though, since I doubt those folks know diddly about the nuclear either and don't understand the nuances of using different fissile material.

Yes, I have an inherent bias on both topics I used as an example, but I didn't mention which side I supported or which side had the unscientific community behind it. If you're frothing at the mouth now wanting to defend your side and how it's real science, I think you should take a long hard look at why you feel that needs to be said.

No uranium (3, Interesting)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566488)

The UK has no uranium mining or reserves and thus is completely dependent on imports for its nuclear energy. Though less is known about thorium, it is not listed as having any reserves here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium [wikipedia.org] Particularly given the many many unaddressed problems with making a liquid salt reactor work (the last one never really did) and the huge clean up cost for using that kind of fuel, there does not seem to be any advantage for the UK to adopt thorium.

Re:No uranium (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566526)

What do you need uranium for? It's completely useless as a nuclear fuel. Maybe you should start looking beyond 1950s-era reactors...

Re:No uranium (2)

jeppen (1377103) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566620)

You present FUD, and your name explains why. Thorium is so abundant, and the molten salt reactor need so little, that fuel availability will be no problem. And if you worry anyway, you can always buy 60 tonnes ($600,000 would be a reasonable price if thorium mining scales up) before you build the reactor. It needs one tonne per gigawatt-year, so that 60 tonnes would last the life-time of the reactor. Also, the liquid salt research reactors has worked very well. You do need to do some design and prototyping for a commercial reactor, though. The Chinese have started to do just that.

Re:No uranium (0)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566692)

Any reactor that uses flammable structural elements can't really be said to be working at all. It is just biding time waiting for disaster.

Glad to see... (2)

Mystic Pixel (911992) | more than 3 years ago | (#36565982)

...that someone's not being completely reactionary about this. Maybe it's Torchwood?

Re:Glad to see... (1)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566070)

No, Torchwood runs on rift energy. The Wylfa plant, now... That'll be Margaret Blaine's doing, and I know it has a major design flaw.

Not a problem (5, Informative)

calzakk (1455889) | more than 3 years ago | (#36565988)

Well, earthquakes and tsunamis are very rare here

A serious understatement. While the UK does have the very occasional tremor, they're so minor that nothing more than a single roof tile has ever moved*. There are no active volcanoes. And hurricanes/tornadoes/etc are extremely rare.

The UK must be one of the best places to build nuclear reactors.

* I'm just assuming this. The point is that they are incredibly minor compared to earthquakes experienced by most other countries.

Re:Not a problem (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566042)

When it comes to natural disasters in the UK, about the worst we ever get is a bit of flooding and even then, that's just certain regions, there's plenty of places to build a nuclear reactor that would be relatively safe.

Except from terrorist attacks, of course, but we haven't quite pandered to fox news on that one just yet.

Re:Not a problem (2)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566190)

Well, you have to admit, the UK does have somewhat of a problem with terrorism, angry Irish who blew stuff up pretty steadily since the invention of gunpowder but have stopped, leaving a gap that has been more than filled by the UK's angry Muslim community. Her Majesty's government has never been afraid of pissing people off which is normally great, but does make nuclear power more complex.

Re:Not a problem (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566290)

The UK's terrorism problem dropped significantly after September, 2001. Apparently something happened in the USA around then that stopped it being fashionable for people in New York to send money to fund terrorism. With their main supply of funding cut off, there was a much bigger incentive for them to reach a negotiated settlement.

Re:Not a problem (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36566414)

You're mistaken. That money was going to fund freedom fighters. There's a subtle but important difference! ;-)

Re:Not a problem (2)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566624)

Most of the problem had gone away already in the 1998 Belfast agreement. 9/11 was more the double nails in the coffin, the funding on the one side and the belief in terrorism as a means to provoke political change on the other. The final remnants of the arsenal wasn't destroyed until 2005, but they were just holding on to it at the time. It should also be noted that the IRA struck mainly British armed forces and police officers, even though they had quite a few civilian losses as collateral damage.

Re:Not a problem (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566462)

"Angry Irish" had one of the best fire discipline of all times. They succeeded in bombing stuff that inflicted massive financial pain on Great Britain with minimal cost of lives, which was their entire goal - make the small patch of Ireland cost so much that it isn't worth it at the costs of minimal amount of civilian lives not to actually piss people off to go to a full out war (I'm not talking about special forces torture squads with various power drill fetishes).

Blowing up a nuclear power plant isn't going to be as easy as a district in London, is likely to cost lives, and get a whole lot of negative attention to their cause.

This is in direct conflict with several key points of IRA terrorism modus operandi.

Re:Not a problem (1)

bheading (467684) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566584)

It's interesting when you consider that none of the IRA's demands (ie the withdrawal of Britain from Ireland and the establishment of a 32-county Irish republic) were ever met. In fact, British withdrawal is probably further away now than it was when the IRA in its present guise got started in 1969.

I'm wondering what you think the IRA's "modus operandi" is. This is an organization that build napalm-like incendiary bombs and set them off in hotels, restaurants and pubs where civilians gathered in large numbers. I don't see why you think they would hesitate to attack a nuclear power station or other such facility.

Sea level rise (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566576)

Interesting that Dungeness did not make the cut. That is one of four sites that Greenpeace studied and found problems. http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/blog/nuclear/british-energy-reckons-nuclear-power-stations-are-safe-from-flooding-20071128 [greenpeace.org.uk] The UK does expect to have to use setbacks and dikes elsewhere.

Re:Not a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36566092)

You're slightly mistaken here. The UK is the most tornado prone country in the world, relative to land area. We get hurricane strength wins every now and then. Earthquakes not so much, although we have had some that have destroyed roofs and such in recent years.

Re:Not a problem (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566202)

There is typically a major earthquake, of the sort strong enough to for example demolish Canterbury Cathedral once every 100 years. We also usually have a tsunami about once every 100 years, though we haven't had one now for 300 years. While it is undoubtedly much more stable than most countries, it isn't completely risk free. If for example the volcano on Gran Canaria were to erupt, we would have a 10 meter tsunami flooding most of the west coast of Britain.

Re:Not a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36566248)

Does that mean that Canterbury Cathedral has to be rebuilt every 100 years or so? I've never heard of earthquakes demolishing anything in Britain - maybe a couple of roofs losing some tiles, but that's about it.

Re:Not a problem (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566484)

No, because they weren't all in Canterbury. Every 100 years or so in Britain doesn't mean every 100 years or so in a particular part of Britain. It means once in recorded history in a particular part of Britain.

Citation needed. (1)

ctid (449118) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566370)

Are you sure about this? Canterbury Cathedral was damaged by an earthquake 600-odd years ago. It has never been "demolished" by an earthquake.

Re:Citation needed. (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566422)

Well, you see, there's only one Canterbury Cathedral left. They don't tell you, but there have been ten of them, of which 9 have been demolished by earthquakes. They somehow managed to make everyone believe that those nine cathedrals did never exist. They even managed to erase all traces of those cathedrals, so even archaeologists won't ever find them. This shows you how powerful the nuclear lobby in the UK is. :-)

Re:Citation needed. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36566610)

Our century quake is a 4. The Japanese don't even wake up for a 4.

Re:Citation needed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36566644)

Well the Christchurch Cathedral in Canterbury has just been destroyed in an earthquake, but that is way over in New Zealand.

Re:Not a problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36566232)

From the British Geological Society [bgs.ac.uk] :

"The North Sea earthquake of 7 June 1931, with a magnitude of 6.1ML and with an epicentre offshore in the Dogger Bank area (120 km NE of Great Yarmouth), is the largest known earthquake in the UK. The felt area encompassed most of Britain, E of Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, N France, parts of NW Germany, Denmark and SW Norway. Damage in Britain was reported from 71 different places, with the strongest effects at Filey, where the top of a church spire was rotated. Bridlington, Beverley and Hull were also affected, with most of the damage affecting chimneys and plaster. A factory roof is reported to have collapsed at Staines (Surrey) and rocks or cliff collapse occurred at Flamborough Head and Mundesley, Norfolk. The earthquake was reported felt by a number of vessels in the North Sea and a woman in Hull died of a heart attack, apparently as a result of the earthquake."

There have been 5 earthquakes reported in Britain in the last 30 days, the largest being of magnitude 2.7. Two of these are associated with shale gas "fracking" near Blackpool.

Generally speaking though, the UK doesn't have damaging earthquakes, but it's incorrect to say that "nothing more than a single roof tile has ever been moved". *disengages pedant mode*

Re:Not a problem (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566264)

, they're so minor that nothing more than a single roof tile has ever moved*

It's a bit worse than that. [wikipedia.org] but only slightly. Every 30 years or so there's one big enough to do minor structural damage to a few buildings. Occasionally a church gets destroyed

Re:Not a problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36566386)

>Occasionally a church that was about to fall down anyway gets destroyed.

There, fixed that for you. I'd expect that a nuclear reactor will be maintained to a higher standard than old crumbling churches. :o)

Re:Not a problem (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566548)

Well, fair enough Just pointing out that it's a little worse than occasional roof tiles.

Re:Not a problem (2)

mahju (160244) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566430)

Yup, a pretty good place, but "...the risk of a tsunami impacting on the UK... is low, but that it cannot be discounted completely."
http://www.nerc.ac.uk/using/casestudies/tsunamiuk.asp [nerc.ac.uk]

Re:Not a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36566622)

More than a few tiles - see for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Lincolnshire_earthquake

New (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36565996)

So my thorium reactor is on the way?

Send my regards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36565998)

to Mt. Yellowstone

But what about the waste? (5, Interesting)

cormandy (513901) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566020)

What is the UK planning to do about nuclear waste? It cannot be kept in cooling ponds forever. I just watched the intriguing documentary Into Eternity the other day (99p rental on iTunes) about Onkalo, the massive network of tunnels the Finnish are digging in solid bedrock in which will become a giant subterranean depository for the country's nuclear waste. The documentary reminds us that nuclear waste remains harmful for something like 100,000 years, and shockingly they reveal that although Onkalo will be used only for Finnish nuclear waste, the country will need to dig many more Onkalos to handle all of it! What hope is there for countries that are not on a shield of bedrock? Why isn't Canada doing something similar? (Think Canadian Shield.) I recall the US was going to proceed with Yucca Mountain, but Obama slashed the budget that would have funded the work...

Re:But what about the waste? (2, Informative)

Alioth (221270) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566044)

The UK reprocesses spent fuel so there's a lot less waste to start off with.

In any case, too much CO2 in the air remains harmful for thousands of years. However, the nuclear waste is all in a concentrated, known location instead of being spread around the world resulting in a global problem.

Re:But what about the waste? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36566168)

What is the UK planning to do about nuclear waste?

Re:But what about the waste? (1)

lordandmaker (960504) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566464)

I think the plan is to keep it in Sellafield until it's fe; that building a proper place to put it wont be political suicide, and then doing that.

It seems to be one of those things that nobody really wants to decide upon, though.

Re:But what about the waste? (4, Informative)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566172)

You mean you drop it into the ocean [wikipedia.org] .

Re:But what about the waste? (1)

jeppen (1377103) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566652)

That would actually work well, although no politician or even researcher would dare say it, as it sounds "irresponsible". If you'd drop canisters of spent nuclear fuel in deep ocean, they would be covered by some mud and nothing would ever happen.

Re:But what about the waste? (1)

citizenr (871508) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566676)

In any case, too much CO2 in the air remains harmful for thousands of years.

Nice, you got modded insightful for saying plant food is harmful.

Re:But what about the waste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36566710)

However, the nuclear waste is all in a concentrated, known location instead of being spread around the world resulting in a global problem.

The one at the bottom of the sea? Or the one in the Chinese landfill?

Re:But what about the waste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36566054)

Its put into the channel tunnel and shipped into France in secret..

In turn they smuggle it across Europe into Poland..

Re:But what about the waste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36566072)

What is the UK planning to do about nuclear waste?

Drop it on our enemies; two birds with one stone.

Re:But what about the waste? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36566074)

I'm sorry, you must have misread, they plan on building NEW reactors. You know like the type that could say, run on waste, or the type that generate very little waste at all, our the type that generates waste that remains radioactive for decades not centuries.

Failing that, if the do decide to build a soviet era reactor and shun 40 years of technical progress, the UK has existing very nasty reactors and along with it an existing waste management strategy, be it dump it in the ground, our sell it to someone who will.

Re:But what about the waste? (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566408)

So new reactors might be a nice way to reprocess waste from the old reactors.

Re:But what about the waste? (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566102)

I watched that same documentary, I fully agree it was very interesting and insightful.

However, as naive as this probably sounds, I don't think burying the nuclear waste is the right course of action. As the documentary points out, suitable locations are rare, it's expensive and even Onkalo is no guarantee that future civilisations won't try to dig down far enough to find out what's down there.

I also don't think we should ignore nuclear power, either. It has tremendous benefits and although its very dangerous if not handled correctly, there's a lot of nuclear power plants out there and very few accidents by comparison. I also believe (but would like to be corrected if I'm wrong) that all of the disasters that have occurred so far have been with reactors built in the 1970's or earlier. Technology has improved a lot since then and modern reactors are several orders of magnitude safer today. But I digress, they still have nuclear waste and that still needs to be handled.

What other solutions are there, other than burying it? Is anyone working on such things? Why not pump the money you would spend digging a massive hold in the ground into researching ways to dispose of or recycle the nuclear waste? After all, any nuclear nation out there has waste to get rid off, so the first country to come up with a viable solution can pretty much charge what they want and most countries will be willing to pay for it. It just seems that burying it into the ground is much the same as our attitude to rubbish - stick it in a landfill and forget about it. That plan has a finite lifespan, too.

Re:But what about the waste? (2)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566132)

What is the UK planning to do about nuclear waste?

There's no such thing as nuclear waste. There's only stuff you haven't configured your mixed oxide plant for yet.

Re:But what about the waste? (1)

jeppen (1377103) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566712)

What about fission products? Technetium-99, for example, or zirconium-93?

Re:But what about the waste? (2)

ultranova (717540) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566162)

What hope is there for countries that are not on a shield of bedrock?

I dunno, figure out how whatever keeps them floating in the air works and tap that?

Re:But what about the waste? (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566412)

Parent probably means countries where the bedrock isn't close to the surface. In some places, it's more than a mile deep, which isn't going to be very practical.

Re:But what about the waste? (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566700)

Parent probably means countries where the bedrock isn't close to the surface. In some places, it's more than a mile deep, which isn't going to be very practical.

Most countries have bedrock closer to the surface than that, even if not everywhere. Moreover, mining to more than a mile down isn't too hard, especially if you're not digging through a coal seam (when you would have gas problems). The main issue with deep mines is usually just water ingress, but not all sites have that problem. For example, Boulby [wikipedia.org] (a salt mine) is nearly a mile deep. The only reason we don't normally go down that far is because it's expensive and what we're after is typically closer to the surface.

Good. (0)

bythescruff (522831) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566046)

Good. Next story please...

What could POSSIBLY go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36566050)

Gimme safe and reliable cold fusion any day.

Re:What could POSSIBLY go wrong? (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566090)

Gimme safe, gimme cold, gimme reliable fusion power!

Re:What could POSSIBLY go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36566122)

Gimme safe and reliable cold fusion any day.

You can have cold fusion once it goes from somebody swearing up and down once every few years that they've figured out how to make it work to it actually being a reality. In the meantime, you seem to have mistakenly left "nonexistent" off of your list of descriptors there.

Thorium! (1)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566094)

Now they just need to make them Thorium reactors. Safety issues: solved.

That isn't the question. (0)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566120)

The question isn't, "Should we have nuclear power?"

The question should be, "Are we willing to tax people and ask them to make sacrifices to make sure that their energy is safe and efficient?"

Given that the Tories are in power, the answer to the second question is, "no, and it doesn't matter where it comes from."

If David Cameron's head didn't explode from the sheer impact of cognitive dissonance if he ever had to raise taxes to cover infrastructure in a huge way, his party would be after his head for betraying their core principles and values.

Re:That isn't the question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36566204)

Add to that the fact that the UK already uses poer generated locally from Nuclear AND a whole load that come from France via the interconnector. France is something like 95% reliant upon Nuclear for its power generation.

Despite all the Windfarms both on and offshore we are going to need more capacity. If you do the sums and then factor in the sometimes weeks at a time in Winter when a Hight Pressure systems sits on top of the UK and all that lovely Wind Power is next to useless then we pretty well have to invest in a whole bunch more nuclear stations. It also makes sense to put them on existing sites. These sites already have years of data in relation to the seismic activity. A magnitude 3 or 4 quake is nothing to even the existing reactors. After the accident at Sellafield in the early 1950's all future reactors were vastly over engineered.

Anon coz I work for National Grid.

Re:That isn't the question. (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566348)

It's also worth noting that there was a report published a few months ago showing that wind farms in the UK are only generating about half of the power that the designs said that they were supposed to (around 5% of their peak output). It turns out that the people pushing them were wildly optimistic about their average output.

Re:That isn't the question. (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566206)

Fact this everyone is in favour of green energy until a windfarm is proposed on the local beauty spot.

There's too many NIMBYs to make wind farms work. They can't generate all the energy we need.

Nuclear is safer than Coal and Gas when you take into account the number of miners and gas workers who have died in accidents over the years. The number of people who have died as a result of Nuclear is in the 60s. Cars kill thousands a year but I don't see many people talking about eliminating those?

We could have reduced energy usage massively before home computers took off, but we're too reliant on them now to start to talk about cutting back on electricity usage.

Personally i don't want to be forced to live like a caveman just so people can carry on flying around the world on holiday. Nobody seems to be forcing the airlines to do anything about their emissions.

Re:That isn't the question. (2)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566244)

We have the same problem in the US, except both of our major parties are unable to deal with the issue for different reasons. No matter who we choose (the two party system is a statistical certainty given our constitution) we will end up with a government that won't solve this problem. It'll keep getting worse for us until something breaks. I hope it's our constitution (certain provisions regarding apportionment and representation) and not our entire economy and way of life.

Just a assumption (1)

zer01ife (2002158) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566136)

What if a Tsunami or an Earthquake hit the UK? What's gonna be your excuse?

Re:Just a assumption (1)

mistralol (987952) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566196)

Does not matter if a Tsunami hit certain parts of the UK we would be buggered anyway. Might as well go out glowing :)

Re:Just a assumption (1)

zer01ife (2002158) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566512)

Double the gluing part with human casualties ( which is undesirable )

Re:Just a assumption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36566210)

Physically impossible.

Re:Just a assumption (2)

niks42 (768188) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566330)

There are so many assumptions in your question, it is scary. Why assume that a nuclear reactor be damaged by a tsunami or earthquake? What if it were small enough to put on a floating barge? Why not use Thorium?

We as a planet have no real practical alternative to nuclear fission in the short term, while we develop nuclear fusion for the long term. The only alternative is the return to the austerity of the 18th Century. Please can we all just recognise what is staring us in the face; nuclear power is the least worst option for all of humanity.

Re:Just a assumption (1)

zer01ife (2002158) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566532)

Please can we all just recognise what is staring us in the face; nuclear power is the least worst option for all of humanity.

Least worst option? I'm pretty sure you're being sarcastic, and that you didn't see the news for a decade, e.g., Fukushima nuclear reactor, Google it.

Re:Just a assumption (1)

cc1984_ (1096355) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566690)

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_Daiichi_nuclear_disaster [wikipedia.org]

Reported deaths: 1 (heart attack)

Let's put that in perspective, the Bhopal disaster (chemical based) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhopal_disaster [wikipedia.org]

The official immediate death toll was 2,259 and the government of Madhya Pradesh has confirmed a total of 3,787 deaths related to the gas release

In fact, 1 death is on a par with the number of deaths related to people putting lava lamps on stoves [darwinawards.com] (that we know of)

Re:Just a assumption (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566608)

Although true, It is also clear that designing for the "100 year disaster" for your area is insufficient when such disasters can result in a 1,000 square kilometers of "can't go there" for multiple tens of years following. (or worse, > 100 year exclusions...).

The number should be chosen such that the steady state quantity of contaminated area will be expected to remain below some agreed-upon acceptable threshold. And obviously, the number should never be less than the expected exclusion term, as then there wouldn't be an asymptotically approached steady state of contaminated land, but an ever-increasing accumulation of it.

Re:Just a assumption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36566424)

Earthquakes hit the UK infrequently. The largest recorded, if I remember correctly, was something like 5.6 (and no, I've not just looked this up on Wiki so this may be out by a couple of points). As for tsunami, we have Ireland on one side and the European Continent on the other, so there's quite a bit of sheltered coastline.

Plus, we don't need an excuse. We like the idea of the rest of the world being leukaemia-riddled, pale-skinned, wonky-toothed vermin. In a word, English ;-)

Death per kwh? (1)

mistralol (987952) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566170)

We all know that whatever methods being used to generate power there are risks. I would like to see some stats on the number of direct and estimated indirect deaths involved per kwh hour produced for each techs. Along with the number of life serious injuries. eg where the recovery time is greater than a year. Or permanent. After all no matter which tech we use. People will always die from it. eg wind turbines with ice flying off blades and hitting people ....

Re:Death per kwh? (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566372)

Why don't you ask your favourite search engine? This was the top hit for me. [nextbigfuture.com] The important data (deaths per TWh):

  • Coal – world average: 161 (26% of world energy, 50% of electricity)
  • Coal – China: 278
  • Coal – USA: 15
  • Oil: 36 (36% of world energy)
  • Natural Gas: 4 (21% of world energy)
  • Biofuel/Biomass: 12
  • Peat: 12
  • Solar (rooftop): 0.44 (less than 0.1% of world energy)
  • Wind: 0.15 (less than 1% of world energy)
  • Hydro: 0.10 (europe death rate, 2.2% of world energy)
  • Hydro - world including Banqiao): 1.4 (about 2500 TWh/yr and 171,000 Banqiao dead)
  • Nuclear: 0.04 (5.9% of world energy)

So, Nuclear power is 3-4 times safer than wind, and twice as safe as hydro-electric.

Re:Death per kwh? (1)

mistralol (987952) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566380)

Last time I looked for it. It did not exist :)

Joined up Government (1)

Cinnamon Whirl (979637) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566222)

This is the same party that vetoed an £80 million loan to Forgemasters, the Sheffield steel company, that would have allowed them to make pieces for nuclear reactors. The loan was cut as a cost saving measure. I guess that saving will be wiped out when we have to buy from overseas. Good thinking!

UK government doesn't have powers over power. (2)

aedan (196243) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566224)

The Scottish Government doesn't agree.

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2011/05/31082406 [scotland.gov.uk]

Westminster aims to recover the power to build nuclear stations in Scotland with the passing of the Scotland bill/Calman commission. We export electricity to England as it is so perhaps the next generation of nuclear stations will be so safe they can be built in Battersea where it's needed.

Re:UK government doesn't have powers over power. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566394)

The map of proposed reactor sites did seem a lot like the list of places as far away from London as possible. I was a bit surprised that there were no proposals in South Wales - we've still got quite a bit of industry that would benefit from local power production here. Battersea looks like an ideal location though. It's on the river, so has a good source of water for cooling, and it's surrounded by large electricity consumers. It was my first thought as a potential site too...

Re:UK government doesn't have powers over power. (1)

boot1973 (809692) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566522)

It's probably to do with the price of the land. Even in Battersea, land is going to be much more expensive than in the other places.

Re:UK government doesn't have powers over power. (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566614)

They shouldn't have turned the old power station into an art gallery. Typical lack of forward planning. ;)

Re:UK government doesn't have powers over power. (1)

Quietlife2k (612005) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566628)

Might have something to do with an anticipated fear reaction from the locations populace.

Or a "London" is too big a target to put a new nuclear in fear of "terrorism".

Me - I'd have no problem with a nuclear power station as per the newer and even safer Japanese designs as a neighbour. Not so keen on the French designs we're likely to end up with though.

The Japanese have already done the disaster tests after all, and have a better long term safety record than the French.

I would expect a discount on my electricity bill though.

Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36566296)

The IAEA really dropped the ball after the Fukushimi event allowing the tree huggers and fear mongers to take control of the FUD and spin popular opinion against nuclear energy when the overwhelming evidence that continues to indicate the overall safety of these facilities are very high. The lack of damage control by the IAEA , et al is deafeningly silent and I am glad that finally some government agency is has got the balls to stand up and say "sorry pal, nuke plants are safe and are part of the deal"

Where to buy? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566390)

So where can I buy my nuclear powered UK stick?

From Al Jazerra - Actual Fucking News (0, Troll)

Timtimes (730036) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566540)

Janette Sherman MD and epidemiologist Joseph Mangano published an essay on a 35 per cent spike in infant mortality in northwest cities that occurred after the Fukushima meltdown. The eight cities included in the report are San Jose, Berkeley, San Francisco, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Portland, Seattle, and Boise, and the time frame of the report included the ten weeks immediately following the disaster. Why have alarms not been sounded about radiation exposure in the US? Nuclear operator Exelon Corporation has been among Barack Obama's biggest campaign donors, and is one of the largest employers in Illinois where Obama was senator. Exelon has donated more than $269,000 to his political campaigns, thus far. Obama also appointed Exelon CEO John Rowe to his Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future.

Best news in years ! (1)

Quietlife2k (612005) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566556)

IF subsequent governments don't screw it up.

The UK is an island with little in the way of seismic activity or tsunami like events.

The UK already falls short in power generation, requiring imports at peak times through lengthy vulnerable and costly to lay and maintain under sea cables and pipes.

By 2015 it is estimated that the UK will no longer produce sufficient energy for off peak, requiring imports 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

We can ill afford the risks these vulnerabilities pose let alone the 10+ years of money flooding out of our economy for what should be a matter of national security.

Any delays will be costly in so many ways.

Tag suddenoutbreakofcommonsense (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 3 years ago | (#36566612)

If there is a time to use it, this is it.
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