TILTING AT WINDMILLS BLOG

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

POWER TO THE PEOPLE

I ate breakfast in Antonio’s yesterday as La Tasca and the Vecina bars were both closed. It was packed largely because it was the only village bar thereabouts open. I managed to squeeze into a small table and laid before me was toast, ham and a rather odd looking tortilla with a high content of olives. I think it’s his version of the Med diet so I guess it must be good for you! I spread my newspapers out and had to re-arrange them speedily as an old man decided he was joining me. In fact he didn’t so much join me as took over my table giving me a steely glare which suggested it was me that was in the wrong place. I didn’t offer him any tortilla!

“Get on with it you fool” I hear you cry!

Both he and my heckler interrupted me as I as was dwelling on a report in Europa Sur that the Spanish Government and the power industry have been reviewing security in the country’s nuclear centres. This follows a number of safety scares over the summer months.

It so happened that just before I left the house I heard a report on the BBC Radio Four ‘Today’ programme that in around five years Britain would suffer power cuts and rationing. This is largely because 30 per cent of the country’s power output will be lost through decommissioning and little has been done to replace that loss let alone meet increased demand.

I must admit that I don’t have a fear of nuclear power largely because as a child I spent many hours fishing and paddling beside the Bradwell nuclear power station on the Blackwater in Essex. I haven’t grown two heads but I may glow in the dark like Antonio’s tortilla.

None the less Spain’s premier, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, has reiterated in his State of the National address that the PSOE party would honour its election pledge to rid the country of nuclear energy. Indeed this very week the government of the País Vasco says it is decommissioning the Santa María de Garoña nuclear power plant because its level of security does not safeguard the local population or the environment.

Greenpeace is in no doubt that “nuclear energy is one of the technological errors that has most seriously damaged the environment, the economy and society in our time”.

The problem is if you take nuclear power out of the equation it is difficult to see how we are going to bridge the energy gap in the immediate and coming years. The subject is debated by “experts” and governments but the populations of all countries are ignored as if this was a matter too weighty for our poor little heads. It is the people who will have to suffer the power cuts as industry will be given priority, their energy bills will rise further and they will be confronted by possible dangers from nuclear power stations. I think it is time that “power to the people” stopped being a slogan and became a reality. It is time for us to be consulted over our future energy needs before the lights go out! This is too important an issue to be left to bumbling politicians, “the industry” or self-interest pressure groups.

1 comment:

David said...

Greenpeace activists are being idiots about this. Nuclear power is far safer and less polluting then the equivalent coal fired power stations, and as "green" energy is basically a waste of time with current technology we need to be building new stations now.
I would much rather live near a nuclear station then a coal or oil fired one.
The politicians are quite happy to leave the decisions and problems for the next generation, and just grab todays headlines.