Monday, February 27, 2012

Victoria's Green Matters - 23rd Feb 2012

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:

 A mixed reaction this week to the news of the construction of eight, new nuclear power stations in the UK. There is good news in this item because it involves work for one of our oldest and most renowned engineering companies, Rolls Royce. This deal is worth some £500 million and can create 1,500 new jobs in the UK. It is a joint venture with France, a country that has many years of experience in producing nuclear power.

Nuclear power is very expensive and these power stations will not be generating electricity for between ten and fifteen years from commencement. We need alternatives to fossil fuel generation much sooner than this if we want to reduce our carbon emissions.

What we really need is the installation of many solar photovoltaic (PV) systems so that more and more buildings can generate electricity. How many south-facing roofs could have PV systems in place for £500 million? In addition to this we need to cut our energy use by reducing waste. It is sad that so few buildings have adequate insulation in roofs and walls. Together with other renewable energies such as wind, wave and tidal the UK is ideally placed to generate its own energy from renewables.

If we have to make a choice between electricity from nuclear on existing sites or by gas produced by hydraulic fracturing (fracking), the carbon emissions that will produce, the possible contamination of ground water and the disruption of the countryside, the choice looks like nuclear.

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