The madness of nuclear fission

Friday 8th April 2022 4:40 am
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Nuclear power
Nuclear power plant (Cambrian News )

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I would totally support the excellent observations of Harry Hayfield, Llanrhystud (Letters, Cambrian News, 24 March) regarding the madness of nuclear fission power stations. Unfortunately, I wish I could say the same for the misguided letter from Quentin Deakin, Tywyn (Letters, same edition).

With the greatest respect, his observations simply fortify and confirm the phrase ‘that “a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing”.

He states that claims made by climate change sceptics of large scale and wind farms are wrong!

This observation displays a serious misunderstanding of how the electricity generating industry functions. Indeed, it is an irrefutable engineering fact that wind and solar cannot ensure security of supply for UK electrical energy, which requires in the order of 346 TWh per annum (2019 figure).

He is also in error about fracking and has fallen for all the misleading propaganda, as any geologist worth his salt will tell him; fracking has turned the US economy around and it could do the same for the UK.

We are where we are, and as a consequence the UK energy strategy should predominantly be efficient gas-fired power stations of the CCGT variety. These power stations are 60 per cent less polluting than their coal-fired cousins and are relatively quick and cheap to build. For example, you could easily build 20 or more CCGT power stations, each of 2000 MW capacity, for the increasing price (£20billion) of the 3200 MW Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station.

All the billions wasted on inane large scale wind and solar should have gone to tidal and hydro power generation – it is absolutely bonkers when we are an island and have the second highest tidal range in the Bristol Channel. But, at least, and in fairness to Mr Deakin, he denounces the madness of nuclear fission power.It is also important to differentiate between roof-fitted solar panels and large-scale solar farms, as roof-fitted arrays can offer a significant reduction in grid demand, even though solar generation has a miserly load factor of approximately 11 per cent.

It was very pleasing to know that Bronglais Hospital, Aberystwyth, has solar panels installed on the front house at the hospital, thus reducing energy costs and pollution, knowing that when the sun does not shine the hospital will have backup from the local electricity network, thus ensuring security of supply.

Mr Deakin should recognise that our technology driven society will collapse without a secure power supply and until genuine green generation can be achieved, such as nuclear fusion, then gas-fired CCGT power stations should predominate.

Then of course there is the potential of electricity from space such as the Cassiopeia Project – I wonder if he is familiar with this technology?

Dave Haskell, Cardigan

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