Pyramid Comment

This journal takes an alternative view on current affairs and other subjects. The approach is likely to be contentious and is arguably speculative. The content of any article is also a reminder of the status of those affairs at that date. All comments have been disabled. Any and all unsolicited or unauthorised links are absolutely disavowed.

Friday, November 17, 2006

A Nuclear Future

Original posting, July 2006

UQ (aka UK) Ltd energy review backs new nuclear power stations. The UQ (aka UK) Ltd government's Energy Review (2006) swept aside objections from environmentalists and anti-nuclear campaigners by proposing a new generation of nuclear power stations.

Windscale (Sellafield)

A new generation suggests a new and improved version. Safer, perhaps. UK Energy Secretary Alistair Darling told the House of Commons:

"A new generation of nuclear power stations could make a contribution to reducing carbon emissions and reducing our reliance on imported energy, but it would be for the private sector to initiate, fund, construct and operate new nuclear plants and cover the costs of decommissioning and their full share of long term waste management costs."

Sounds like: at no cost to the taxpayer, but we will pay for it through the cost of buying energy. The nuclear Sword of Damocles remains hanging high just out of view ready to drop at any time.

And it will be much, much more expensive than at the moment. Justifiction [sic]:

"it was the only way forward"

Left to the private sector? No charging control. Do as they like and endorsed by government.

The government's review sets out its strategy for supplying energy while also tackling climate change until 2020. It also recommends financial measures that would increase the extent to which renewable energy technologies feed into the power grid. It will, for example, make wind and tidal power cheaper for electricity companies to use through subsidies.

Sounds good, but it only represents a few % of the total. Will that be increased?

The UK is the world's fourth largest economy trailing after the US, Japan and Germany, and is re-examining the sources that feed its electricity grid because demand over the next decade is projected to exceed generation capacity. This so-called "energy gap" will emerge as old and inefficient coal and nuclear power stations are retired under measures the European Union is taking to cut carbon dioxide emissions in compliance with the Kyoto protocol (the US has little interest in Kyoto and never did).

Without reinvestment, this gap will add up to about one-fifth of the nation's requirements by 2015, according to the Carbon Trust, a UQ (aka UK) Ltd organisation that helps companies cut their emissions.

  • Be careful: sounds like out with the old generation and in with the next safer, cleaner (and cheaper?!!) new generation. The Energy Review opens the way for new nuclear power stations to replace those to be retired.
  • "This will ensure that nuclear energy continues to provide at least 20% of UK's electricity, which will otherwise drop to 6%"
Alistair Darling, Chancellor of the Exchequer

Do you believe this? France generates 80% of its energy by nuclear means.

Speeding up the construction of the new nuclear power stations will include what may be highly controversial:

  • "streamlining"of the planning process to prevent local objectors delaying construction

In other words, plans to steamroller through objections even if they are well-founded. Moving so fast that any court action would be circumvented.

This government knows exactly what it is doing. It can move swiftly and effectively enough when money is at stake (to everyone connected to the right business). Any other scenario, take time and 'display' incompetence. This illusion of 'incompetence' is quite deliberate and calculated.

Misdirection. It's how the classic magician's trick always works.

Check out the planned dismantling of the NHS: through a "miscalculation" that lost £700m (Hewitt), sack doctors and nurses (they make it work don't they? - that's one reason to get rid of them, of course), but keep the managers because they create failure. The public, ie taxpayer, is being conditioned to accept winding up (down?) the NHS as it's too expensive to keep.

But I digress...

Darling said:

"We'll be acting to ensure that energy companies, whether seeking to build gas storage facilities, wind farms or any other kind of large energy installation, are not faced with costly uncertainties and delay."

And added:

"Local concerns must be taken into consideration but the right balance has to be struck with the national need for our vital energy infrastructure."

Alternatives will be completely blocked. Opinions suppressed.

The review also makes a commitment to lowering the cost of using renewable energy sources for electricity companies. This will mean subsidising less widely used renewable technologies.

Sounds good, but they won't be there. They'll have been blocked.

UK electricity companies have an obligation to acquire 10% of their power from renewable sources by 2010. But above was made mention of 2015. Watch out for the spin and misdirection here.

They mainly opt for the cheapest option: onshore wind turbines. They'll be ridiculed as wind is not predictable, but nuclear power is.

What about off-shore? See below.

Do you get the hypocrisy again? Nuclear power. A nuclear power. You can trust us. We're British. The country that invaded Iraq illegally at the behest of Dubya (W), allegedly. An excuse to meddle in nuclear fuels. Sources of nuclear warfare. Like the depleted (or maybe not so depleted) uranium shells. The new method of conducting nuclear war without the nuclear bombs. Nuclear shells instead. The outcome is much the same as in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Just no tell-tale mushroom clouds.

The Carbon Trust last week urged the government to provide subsidies for the less successful and more expensive renewable technologies like offshore wind, tidal and solar power. With new investment, Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust says renewables could feasibly supply up to 13% of the UK's electricity by 2015 and 19% by 2020. This is close to the government's target of 20% renewables by 2020.

Answer that one Blair. And no spin. I have a spin detector and it sits next to my shit detector.

Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace in the UK, said:

"This renewable push should be seen in the context of what it is: just a way of delivering new nuclear build."

Parr also questions whether the investment community will be willing to pay to build, manage and handle waste from the nuclear power stations. He cites a report from Standard & Poor's, the credit ratings agency, which earlier in 2006 warned investors that cost overruns are "highly probable" on new nuclear power station projects.

I would say guaranteed. That's how it's designed to work.

Parr adds:

"The headlines today might be about new nuclear build, but the devil will be in the detail. There is a huge level of risk for anyone putting up the money for a nuclear power station and there is a distinct possibility the investment the government is seeking won't be there."

But, no doubt, the government on our behalf (the taxpayers whose views are never sought) will underwrite any cost differential. When, rather than if, it all goes sour, the investors will get bailed out.

Win-Win scenario for investors

As a point to note:
election of a governmment defines all forward (ie future) scenarios as automatically endorsed without asking. That is, the

majority who never voted for a current government

and even the

minority who did

do not get a say in any

controversial, contentious and dangerous

enterprise that places everybpdy at huge risk. Potentilly, lethal risk. Such is the arrogance involved with politics.

Other environmental groups reacted negatively to the review:

"The idea that we are facing an enormous energy gap which only nuclear power can fill has been a classic piece of spin," said Keith Allott, head of climate change at the World Wildlife Fund. "Nuclear is a costly red herring and it will be the taxpayers who end up covering the costs of an uneconomic industry and future generations who deal with its legacy of radioactive waste."

Legacy provided for by Blair. The most disastrous PM since WWII. Arguably, and before that. Ever?

Kevin Anderson, director of the energy programme at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, UK, said the review focuses disproportionately large-scale electricity generation:

"There is no real action proposed to realise the substantial potential of alternative means of generating low-carbon power, such as micro-generation of electricity at the community-level."

NB. Blair and Darling visited the wind farm at Kentish Flats last week (windfarm at sea) owned by a Swedish company, which produces enough energy to power 100,000 homes. It is the largest off-shore wind farm in operation with some 30 turbines.

Blair talks about protecting the environment. That, after backing the nuclear proposal. Breathtaking hypocrisy?

And then some.
But then trips like this are only a public relations exercise. Absolutely no substance. Just a stunt for the TV cameras.

And it's still about greed:
Enough is never enough.

Kill only one or two thousand?

It's possible to...

Murder an entire Nation