Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Nuclear Option

The symbol in the picture is that used by the Movement on Energy and Environment, OOA - it says: "Nuclear Power? No thanks."

Denmark has to this day been nuclear free (so imagine the scandel over the American B-52 Stratofortress bomber, loaded with four hydrogen bombs, which was forced to crashland at the Thule airbase in Greenland back in 1968).

The symbol is used around the world now but owes its origins to a girl in my hometown of Aarhus who drew it in 1976. There is a house in the city centre that has this as a mural on one side.

Crossing the North Sea, and Nuclear Power stations are back on the energy agenda. The Independent has a useful overview of the reasons why in its online edition today.

One choice reason for investing in nuclear is that Britain doesn't want to rely on gas imports, 80% of which would come from Russia, with all the security implications that has given what has happened with the Ukraine. It's a good reason of course...in capitalism - with its nation states and never ending tensions.

The paper's leader is also about nuclear power, or rather the waste from it. Britain has 2.3 million cubic metres of the crud and they have no idea where to get rid of it.

I've never been an all out opponent of nuclear power. Finding sources of energy for the future is an important and pressing problem. If it was possible to find a safe way to dispose of nuclear waste and if it is possible to make sure you don't get another Chernobyl, then....It's a mighty big "If" though. I don't like the idea of Nuclear Power under capitalism.

The use or otherwise of nuclear power would be something for consultation of the whole people in socialism.

NB: The New Labour energy review mentioned that lots of energy is wasted because of stand-by buttons. That wasted energy has its carbon dioxide cost too. So - turn off the TV or PC. Today's moral trip! It makes sense on the electricity bill too to save here.

But whilst the review members highlight this senseless waste of energy, I doubt very much that they will highlight the structural waste of capitalism, which we socialists have pointed out on a fair few occasions. Energy is used on a variety of commodities and jobs that only make sense in a capitalist context because those things make the system work. Example: the Kilowatt Hours guzzled by "the City" in its daily business of moving bits of money about via computers.

AFTERTHOUGHT: Apropos the security implications of gas from Russia, the spy "rock" and Russian anger at British support to Russian NGOs highlights the spook goings on.

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