@tomwhite101 recently asked my opinion on this Guardian article on nuclear waste. It’s an interesting topic and after a few attempts to condense an opinion into 140 characters there was a blog piece afoot.
So – nuclear waste could be used to power Britain for another 500 years. Well, it’s great to see the UK taking recycling to its heart. Put food in your compost; paper in your council bin; clothes in that overflowing thing in the supermarket car park and now; plutonium.
I’ll come straight out and say I’m not a huge fan of nuclear energy, but neither will I be wearing a pin badge against warhead recycling.
The fact is that the UK has become a dumping ground for other countries’ waste fuels; that’s what Sellafield’s re-processing plant handles. Blending down plutonium to create a large quantity of fuel means that we will be able to provide a reliable base load capacity of supply from nuclear power generation for decades to come. Given that nuclear is here to stay and we have lots of old war head rubbish that needs to be downgraded, we might as well put this to good use.
Also, as the world’s number of nuclear powered nations increases there’s a distinct lack of the standard uranium fuel. Without recycling decaying war heads we’re as likely to run out of the base nuclear fuel as oil.
Our plutonium may just be the tip of the warhead recycling process, so either we try eBay, or we have to deal with it.
So, nuclear power stations can provide steady base-load electrical capacity and this means that we can usefully use this energy. But what risks are we opening ourselves up to? And who’s back yard are you going to put it in?
For those thinking that the risks aren’t worth it I agree but as we have the problem we need to deal with it.
My thoughts having read the article tend towards:
Yes we should do it.
No we shouldn’t totally trust the authorities to handle it properly.
We still need to work on improving the basic energy needs for the future, which is all about energy efficiency. And finally – do you think the Government will offer a substantial back yard subsidy for dumping Plutonium? 50p a kWh? Any takers?