Nuclear Power Dossier - Building a Nuclear Power Station
1st June, 2006
Think nuclear power and you probably think of small amounts of highly radioactive material, safely encased in vast concrete bunkers, generating an endless supply of clean electricity. Yes it's expensive and clearly there is a problem with nuclear waste, but if it is the answer to climate change then why not?
Once a decision has been taken to build a nuclear power station, the question of location arises. Firm foundations are required for a building that has to surpass an ‘Acts of God’ insurance policy for at least 100 years. It also pays for it to be built close to a plentiful water supply, as it requires 30 million gallons daily to act as a coolant to stop generators overheating and prevent catastrophic meltdown. This is a fundamental problem. Sea levels are predicted to rise by half a metre by the end of the century, according to the the ultra-cautious International Panel on Climate Change. It could be less, but it could easily be more. Such a rise threatens every coastline in Britain and around the world, as it brings with it unpredictable weather patterns.
Late last year, a confidential report from Nirex, the then government agency on radioactive waste management, warned that all the UK’s current reactor sites are at risk of flooding or erosion under such conditions. If the Greenland and Western Antarctic ice sheets start melting away, as some experts now predict, sea levels could eventually increase by as much as 12 metres.
Given this, it...
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