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Strategic Energy Policy from the new Government

Chris Huhne and Nuclear Power

Just last week the media was speculating on how the coalition between the David Cameron’s Conservative party and Nick Glegg’s Liberal Democrats would work together, when for they had debated major topics and were seemingly poles apart many occasions.  One such topic is that of the future energy policy and strategy for the United Kingdom, as the media over the last decade has told and re-told numerous scenarios about the UK actually having to turn off not only industry, our way of like to even light bulbs.  This week it has been reported that the new Energy minister, Chris Huhne has in some way accepted that Nuclear Power is part of the overall strategy.

Yes to Nuclear, but No to Government funding

Chris Huhne has made no secret over the years whilst in opposition that Nuclear Power is not an option.  Mainly due to the overall cost to the environment and safety fears.  But many leading scientists are coming to the conclusion, that whilst it is not the preferred option, it is the best of bad bunch and hopefully it would help to meet the immediate demand and to allow significant improvements in the the carbon capture technologies and clean burn.  Lets not forget that not only globally more closer to home in the Europe we have carbon targets to meet.   This latest thoughts from the new government seem a bit of a compromise, firstly the Lib part of the coalition are allowed not to vote in any nuclear policy decisions, in fact have agreed not to vote against the conservatives and for that, it would appear that the other side of the compromisefrom the Conservatives is that no funding will be provided and the new nuclear power plants must in effect be built and run by the private sector, the existing energy companies.  It is thought that the first in a series of plants could be on-line by 2017 and operated by Centrica.

A balancing act

Many of us are familar arguements associated with the delicate act of keeping the lights on, but reducing carbon and now throw in the well publicised national debt.  It’s quite hard to imagine how this is actually going to work, we are likely to see an expansion to the wind, wave and tidal schemes.  We know that some new fossil burning plants are being built, there is a new gas-fired plant being built near Newark, Nottinghamshire.  There are also small scale incinerators, bio plants and others.  As mentioned above some nuclear as well.  But it’s hard to see how all these pieces in the jigsaw will come together, if we can’t stop driving everywhere, flying at least yearly and buying food from all over the world.  Surely carbon targets like four fifths in the next 40 years and with the expected population growth of around 20 million more people, we simply have to changed our life styles?

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