Blair says nuclear choice needed
Tony Blair says "controversial and difficult" decisions will have to be taken over the need for nuclear power to tackle the UK energy crisis.
The prime minister told the Liaison Committee, made up of the 31 MPs who chair Commons committees, any decision will be taken in the national interest.
He is said to believe nuclear power can improve the security of the UK's energy supply and also help on climate change.
A government review of energy options is expected to be announced next week.
I like the any decision will be taken in the national interest. This fails the try-negating it test: any decision will be taken against the national interest is unsayable. So ItNI means "prepare for an unpopular decision".
Although there is always a techno-industrial lobby in favour of Nukes, I'd guess that and also help on climate change may be quite accurate. Blur has been talking about Kyoto options and as I noted I think the govt has realised we're (they're?) not going to hit our targets. So he needs to pull something out of the hat. These nukes won't do it: they won't be onsteam by 2012 unless they arrive rather fast; but they could probably be folded into the plans if pushed.
So... is this a runner? Lots of people don't like nukes: Greenpeace protesters have disrupted a speech used by Tony Blair to launch an energy review which could lead to new nuclear power stations in the UK. Two protesters climbed up into the roof of the hall where Mr Blair was due to address the Confederation of British Industry conference. After a 48-minute delay, Mr Blair made his speech in a smaller side-hall. Forcing Blur off into a side-hall is a success, and will have annoyed him a lot.
But the "debate" about their (de)merits is as poor as ever: at least judging from radio 4 this morning. We had someone who doesn't like nukes, and then Bernard Ingham who does (I think, like Bellamy, out of an unstated assumption that its Nukes or Windfarms and he doesn't like windfarms). The green chap said Nukes are uneconomic; BI said they are. I rather suspect that they aren't, under current conditions: our present Nukes barely manage to stay afloat even with all their building costs written off; and I don't see piles of commercial applications waiting to be built. Of course some of this is due to the endless wrangling which costs; and how to cost the long term storage is obviously a bit of a poser since no-one yet knows how it will be done.
One of the arguments that the Green side is starting to push is that Nukes aren't that good for CO2: that over their lifecycle, they emit lots, comparable with coal/gas. I rather doubt that makes sense. I've never seen the figures. If it *is* true then it would account for the economics being so bad. If anyone has them, do please leave a comment.
You'll have noticed that I haven't explicitly given my opinion on this, though which side I lean should be clear enough. I excuse this by it being far from my expertise: I'm not sure why you should want my opinion. If offer this observation, though: that through the years on sci.env I have observed that the people in favour of Nukes invariably know more about them, and those against know little. Blur is likely to be an exception to this, though.