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August, 2009

 
   

There is an abundance of friendly renewable sources of energy

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  The French company EDF and the German E.ON said that the UK's attempt to develop renewable energy were going to damage alternative schemes such as nuclear plants*. Well they would wouldn't they? After all they are in the business of making loads of money from their nuclear installations. We, and other environmental groups predicted that this would happen. In particular we argued that not only is nuclear generation a curse on society but that its' development would adversely affect the development of benign forms of renewables. Now you can see it is happening.
    It is becoming increasingly clear that there are many sources of relatively clean renewable energy available, even if their potential calls for further R&D. We have said in the past that all sources of energy involve a cost and a balance must be struck between the downside and the benefits. For example Windmills can be regarded as an eyesore (but that is not universally agreed), large hydro-electric schemes can destroy flora and fauna over a wide area but careful planning can mitigate those effects. What is clear is that with these types of energy generation, the downsides can usually be accurately predicted and largely avoided. Where the predictions are wrong it is practical to put them right and the damage can be controlled in a relatively short time span.
    Contrast this with the outfall from nuclear generation using current technologies. The side effects of obtaining the raw materials right through to the legacy of the effluent discharged from such industry are known to be lethal and horrendously cruel. The radioactivity from enriched uranium and plutonium for example can remain pernicious for so long it may as well be called 'for ever'. And what are the authorities doing about it? Virtually nothing, in reality. A few parsimonious words here and there but the truth is not only do they not care, more importantly they are too ignorant and obdurate to understand.
    This disregard for humanity, in the quest for personal gain, is not new, just look around the UK to see ugly slag tips, mine shafts collapsing under roads and houses, discarded waste from extinct metal mines poisoning the habitat and so on. Abroad there are more obvious and sinister tragedies following the 'we've made the profit and now we're going to let you clear up the mess' brigade. It should not be allowed to happen and that means such a scenario should be stopped at birth.
    What has impressed us recently is the huge quantity of benign renewable sources of energy available now or within short reach. On top of that there are many measures we can take to conserve the energy that we use. We are environmentalists and have leanings to favour such sources and methods but as we read and learn more of what is there for the taking the more we are astounded at the breadth and length of the options, including ones we had not previously imagined. The probability is that there are more yet to be found.
    What has impressed us recently is the huge quantity of benign renewable sources of energy available now or within short reach. On top of that there are many measures we can take to conserve the energy that we use. We are environmentalists and have leanings to favour such sources and methods but as we read and learn more of what is there for the taking the more we are astounded at the breadth and length of the options, including ones we had not previously imagined. The probability is that there are more yet to be found.
     
   
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Originated: 18 December , 2007,  Last amended: 3 May, 2013