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Monday, October 01, 2007

George Monbiot Supports Nukes and Clean Coal by John/Togs Tognolini

George Monbiot

‘’I am less hostile to nuclear power than I used to be. I no longer believe

that uranium is about to run out or that the safe disposal of nuclear waste

is impossible.’’

George Monbiot

new left review 45, may june 2007

I was some what taken aback when I come across this statement by Monbiot.

He led into this statement by saying

‘’ .. Like other environmentalists, I would be happiest if all the electricity

on the grid were supplied by means of renewable energy. But the wind

does not blow, the waves do not rise and the sun does not shine on

demand. In the uk, for example, electricity demand peaks between 5pm

and 7pm on winter evenings. Those who advocate turning the uk into

a solar economy would do well to take note of this. If we switched our

entire electricity-generating network over to variable sources of renewable

power, there would be a power cut whenever the wind or waves

dropped. There are a few ‘non-variable’ renewable sources, such as

biomass and geothermal energy, but their supply is limited (except in

Iceland)....if electricity users are not to be subject to repeated blackouts and equipment failure

(which would make our proposals politically unfeasible), the question must be answered.

Unless we discover a magical new source of fuel, it comes down to an

unfortunate choice between nuclear power and burning fossil fuel with

capture and storage.’’

His argument against a limit of the potential of renewable sources supplying a full power grid seems unduly pessimistic. He might have a point about the sun in Britain, but when do the waves drop in the North and Irish Seas and the Atlantic Ocean? And there’s some pretty windy areas in Britain as there is here in Australia.

Maybe George should take a look at David Bradbury’s film Hard Rain which demolishes any argument about nuclear power and uranium mining. Monbiot has written some excellent material about climate change but in posing nuclear power as an answer for energy needs, means that he’s really asking the wrong questions. A flaw with Monbiot’s work is that he never puts forward any argument for nationalising the polluters and having a massive public works campaign to develop renewable energy sources.

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