Sunday, April 19, 2009


It's getting 'hotter' as a topic (sorry)


BBC - UK push for big nuclear expansion - I guess you could say the whole thing is mushrooming:)

Guardian - Gordon's nuclear con trick - Take this as 'non-pro' at a wild guess. As always, the value of blogs is what the counter-posters may bring to the party, but equally have that pinch of salt handy.

Guardian - Fuel for scandal - Loved this comment, which shows hwo cautious oen needs be with the who is writing as much as the what: '"Rob Edwards has been a freelance journalist specialising in environmental issues" Does that mean 'environmental' as in 'idealogical, nuclear-over-my-dead-body greenie' or does it mean 'concerned about environmental degradation and willing to think objectively about solutions and trade-offs'? I mean, I really don't think it is doing anything for the present environmental crisis to begin your argument from the standpoint that nuclear is always going to be the wrong solution.

Wikipedia - With all due caveats

A letter - ***NOTE**** Please refer to the comment below made by a poster that would suggest that this letter would not seem to have been sent by the person I had imagined, for reasons unknown. So this all makes sense I have left all in place as was to put the comments in context.

A copy of one sent to a major news media, copied to me. Worth reading and pondering 'in the mix', assuming the author to be worth his salt - I can get a bit swayed by titles. Why such issues cannot be made clearer so the public can grasp and decide is beyond me.

Dear Editor,
Today's front page story is yet another chapter in a 50 year fantasy
that nuclear power will bring untold riches. The THORP plant at
Sellafield, which has never worked properly, is to be demolished at
£600m. In the 1950's nuclear electricity was going to be too cheap
to meter. All of these false starts miss one vital point. Uranium is
a fossil fuel. There are no Uranium reserves in Britain. Mining,
refining and transporting Uranium generates significant environmental
impacts and greenhouse gas emissions, which need 10 years of nuclear
generation to balance. As a scarce commodity, Uranium prices will
rise to follow oil. No one knows what to do with the waste, except
make weapons of mass destruction. For 10% of the tax money spent
without results on nuclear power, we could have retrofitted 100% of
our housing stock to a zero carbon standard, and saved 40% of our
energy consumption. Even if we have 100% nuclear electricity, that
would only be 10% of our energy consumption saved. Perhaps Emperor
Nero could might advise ?

Professor Lewis Lesley

Telegraph - Safety fears over French nuclear technology - Link courtesy of Dave, who offers this commentary: 'As soon as the start button is about to be pressed, the antis come out of the woodwork and play on the safety aspect.'

Guardian - Funding for clean-up of nuclear sites is unsustainable, say MPs - I don't know what is more worrying; the piece or the fact that it just seems to be so much more 'noise' we allow to wash over ourselves. 'Unsustainable' is a pretty big word, is it not, even from that oh-so-persuasive and trusted cabal we call our MPs?

BBC - Nuclear clean-up costs 'to soar' - I merely note that this coincides with the attempt to get planning decisions removed from accountability.

I was/am playing with colour coding for easy reference. See if you get the drift. Also I think I need to work on orders. I tend to use alphabetical, but maybe newest first/last might be better?

BBC - Newsnight - On the topic of plugging the pulling of plugs...

I have been intrigued to find in my in-box a plea from FoE at the same time as browsing across such as this from the BBC that suggests there may well be questions still worth asking.

Seems there is much going on in the name of energy supply and, at the same time, even more in 'complement' in the name of green.

Now, I am first to admit much of it is very difficult to get one's head around, but at the very least I'd like to retain the option of finding out... and having the opportunity to have my say if it looks like it matters.

Guardian - MPs fear taxpayer could end up paying nuclear clean-up bill - Is 'fear' the same as 'don't think they should, or more 'well, they I won't be around for them to vote me out then'? Seems odd that they don't 'know' yet.

Guardian - All aboard the nuclear power superjet. Just don't ask about the landing strip -

Guardain - Nuclear power failure - There are a lot of red flags here. It should be noted that this is possibly because of what I read and how often the topic is raised there. I also believe (in the absence of a bio) that often what you think is editorial is often more a party political broadcast, and hence things need to be viewed in this light. At least the thread comments tend to help with balance.

Telegraph - The perils of nuclear power

Times - The debate goes nuclear

Indy - The Big Question: Does nuclear power now provide the answer to Britain’s energy needs?

I know what we are facing, and it's all looking pretty 'lose lose', but...

'Nuclear reactors are the best way to produce lots of electricity, reliably, with no carbon emissions'

I guess, but that does rather depend on what falls under *produce*. Does it exclude building 'em, running 'em and decomissioning them? These factors apply to wind farms too, and any comparisons of enviROI should compare apples with apples, surely.

Also, though addressed in part above...

'Despite technical advances, digging a hole is still the only way to get rid of spent fuel rods'

And.... the powers that has been (that's deliberate), are and will be have shown themselves sooooo competent in overseeing stuff like this right? At least, as long as the lobbyist's cheque clears, the targets are met or the bonus lasts through retirement nowhere near where one of these things is.

I still recall Space 1999.

I can see that we're in a lesser of evils situation as 'we' are not about to stop needing/wanting energy, but let's not gild the lily too much.

Telegraph - Can we all stop whingeing about nuclear waste now? - Well the original sets out its stall. Sadly, the comments didn't really light the debate. More a gentle glow, if I can put it that way.

BBC - New nuclear site options unveiled - There goes the neighbourhood. How far is S. Gloucs from Ross on Wye? am I NIMBY if I object? Wonder how many in Doncaster North?

Times - NEW - Briefing: Nuclear energy


Nuclear Decommissioning Agency -

*There are several archived posts just flagged 'Nuclear', so check them out, too until I consolidate


neil craig said...

I think if there is a Professor Lesley he should be annoyed that some moron has been using his name to say that uranium is a fossil fuel since unlike oil which (largely) comes from the fossils of dead animals & coal (from dead trees), uranium is a naturally occuring element in the Earth's crust.

If he really wrote it Liverpool Uni should be annoyed that they have such an ignoramus as a professor.

He is wrong on the other points too. There is nothing even close to a shortage.

PS It seems they do have a professor of that name

Peter said...


I should hang my head for not catching the fossil fuel comment. I guess in my head I presumed he, er, this person meant it was finite, too, as part of their point.

At least I had cause to wonder about the validity, if not enough to dig more deeply.

If this was/is a hoax it was/is an odd one indeed, but the beauty of the net and blogs is that such things can get caught.

I have published your comment and will flag it on the site as I'll need to leave the story up for these posts to make sense.

Ta for taking the time to write.

Now to try and hunt back and find out how this came in for me to be seduced into posting.

Peter said...

Tracked it down. No excuse, but a reason. It came from a forum mailing from a sustainability group I have had no reason to doubt until now. No one picked up on it at the time, which is odd as I know several scientists are on the list.

It actually was lifted (or, to step on eggshells, claims it was) from Guardian Letters to the Editor (interesting to see if there was a reply and clarification here) on or before March 27 2008, with an address provided:
Professor Lewis Lesley
30 Moss Lane,
Liverpool L9 8AJ

It would be interesting to find out just what the actual facts are, but I think I will content myself with raising this question mark and letting any readers so minded to pursue further.

Google suggests a Prof. of this name has a colourful past, and he looks like the one already mentioned above.