Britain’s Nuclear future

While driving home for Easter I caught BBC Radio 4 show about Britain Nuclear future. During the show they had four guests:-

  • Managing Director of nuclear new build EDF energy UK – Humphrey Hudson. EDF energy are building a new nuclear rector in Somerset which is in full construction and employing more than 1,600 people.
  • Chief executive of Horizon nuclear power – Duncan Hawthorne. They are building the new nuclear station at Yr Wylfa using Hitachi technology.
  • Chief executive of New generation nuclear power company-Tom Samson. They are 60% owned by Toshiba and they’re currently building in Cumbria. They are currently having trouble with reactors in America as they’ve gone dangerously over budget.
  • Chairman of nuclear innovation and concerns – Dame Sue Ion

Are nuclear technologies safe enough?

  • Yes, it’s been through international safety assessment

What happened to British nuclear power?

  • In 1950-80’s Britain were self sufficient with Magnox (EDF will use similar rectos to them) they used gas cooled systems until technological development in 1980’s proved light water reactors were the way forward.
  • In 1990’s government tried a non nuclear policy and rely on renewable energy but around 2004 they decided we need nuclear power and we’ve only now just started to go ahead with building these nuclear stations.

Do we need nuclear? What are the best alternatives?

  • Nuclear power currently provides 16% of Britain’s energy, we rely on 15 reactors which need to be replaced with new technology.
  • The big problem is that we can’t store energy, we can pump water up and down mountains but we’ll loose 30% of energy in that process.
  • We need large scale reliable base load energy to run an industrialize economy.

Most arguments towards Nuclear power is ‘Why can some countries live with out it and why can’t we?’ For example Germany recently announced that they’re shutting down nuclear power and their industry is much bigger than ours, they will rely mainly on solar power but Germany can easily import power from Europe when ever they need it which ironically includes nuclear power from countries such as France.

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