The Curmudgeon


Thursday, February 02, 2012

We Must Harness the Awesome Power of the Atom

Well, here's a thing: not forty-eight hours after the unfortunate reaction of a cross-party committee to another exposure of ministers' faith-based energy policy, Professor David Mackay, the chief theologian at the Department for Energy Corporation Coddlement, has spontaneously confirmed that a new generation of reactors could turn Britain's nuclear waste stockpile into enough low-carbon electricity to maintain current supplies for five hundred years or so. It sounds just like the opening scene of This Island Earth, in which the hero speculates about harnessing the power of the atom to provide cheap energy for ever, only to find himself conscripted into an interplanetary war against ruthless surrogate commies and/or proto-Iranians. Certainly, in light of the actual achievements of the terrestrial nuclear industry, there is room for speculation as to Professor David Mackay's planet of origin.

However, Daveybloke's family values to the contrary, we are no longer in the nineteen-fifties, so that even the promises of the nuclear industry are subject to one or two caveats. First, a sufficient number of reactors have to be built, since each one produces only the equivalent of a quarter of a conventional nuclear hazard, or about as much as could be generated by covering the lawns at Buckingham Palace with wind turbines and then allowing Michael Gove to talk at them. Second, there are all sorts of other issues which, in David Mackay's opinion, reduce the prospect of satisfying current demand for five hundred years to merely "a reasonable starting point." As so often when dealing with matters other than health, education and helping the vulnerable, therefore, the problem essentially boils down to how much money the Government is prepared to throw at whoever makes the biggest promises and provides the most lucrative kickbacks.


  • At 6:51 pm , Anonymous Madame X said...

    Either the timing is fortuitous, or radiation leaks have become news again since Fukushima, but the San Onofre reactor within killing distance of me is reported to have suffered one just the other day.

    Nor does anyone ever discuss the issue of where to put all the radioactive waste.

  • At 7:12 pm , Blogger Philip said...

    Well, now we know. All we have to do is incentivise those who created the problem in the first place, and they'll solve it for us and then some - just like the banks.


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