The Nuclear Vested Interest and a Nuclear Winter.
The need to build up the immune system of the constitution against parasite politics.

"Our solar-powered future"

The day, a report showed that the government neglected even to prevent council house plumbing from taking another life, the government announced more nuclear plants, whose products threaten the survival of human and all other developed life on the planet, while the energy minister insisted on their safety.

The Blair-Brown act waited till after the 2005 British election to force more nuclear plants, knowing its vote-losing unpopularity. This is unacceptable and I hope the British public will not be crushed under Brown's nuclear steam-roller, now or henceforth, whatever deals governments make with the nuclear industry, over their heads.

The most important factor in the future of safe energy supplies was given in New Scientist, 8 december 2007. Their lead article was called "Here comes the sun. Our solar-powered future." Photovoltaic cells, to produce electricity from solar rays, are the current biggest investment in the world. The advance of research is such that, at its present progress, in few years, they will become commercially competitive with current energy sources.

Meanwhile, the British government is recklessly determined to impose the vested interest in more nuclear power stations, before sufficient opposition can gather to stop their disasterous ill-judgment for environment and economy alike.
There will be no excuses.

Not mentioned in that New Scientist article is the longer term prospect of a paint of miniature solar cells. Theoreticly, if painted on all the roads it could satisfy US energy needs. This might take more or less as long to develop as it takes to build a nuclear power station.

Originally solar power looked limited to silicon cells with their theoretical limit of efficiency of thirty per cent. Efficiency levels have been improved from a few per cent to over twenty per cent. But other kinds of cells have been invented with very high efficiency levels. The current problem is to trade-off efficiency with cheapness of mass production.

My first anti-nuclear page began by quoting an official US government report, over 50 years ago, saying nuclear power would never contribute more than 20 per cent energy production. The US should invest for an aggressive research into solar power that would be of tremendous benefit to mankind. Recently, American President George W Bush put by a miserable hundred and some million dollars for that purpose.

A previous 2007 New Scientist article reported on the dangerous disintegration of US radioactive storage, begun barely half a century ago but a threat for geological eras. The government has to waste billions of public money on indefinite radioactive storage up-grades. And this is just the richest country in the world, that can afford it.

Meanwhile, great industrial powers, like Germany and Japan, are intensively funding solar power research. New Scientist reported that in Germany domestic solar-power users get mandatory refunds from power firms for their surplus solar electricity supplied back to the grid. The editor urged that Britain adopt similar imaginative policies.

Parasite politics as alibi and bribe

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But Britain is evidently run for the benefit of a nuclear industry caucus.
Energy spokesman, David Howarth was the Liberal Democrat MP, I believe who remarked on Tony Blair's last months as premier, as being marked by a determination to flag-wave for nuclear power at every opportunity, usually with the remark that nuclear power is "back with a vengeance".

Blair's nose-thumbing exit seems to have puzzled more people than myself.
Was this a typical case of post-ministerial place-seeking a position on a board? Indeed, Mr Blair was criticised in the Press for taking a position with a firm benefiting financially from the Iraq invasion.

My later speculation as to Blair's nuclear propaganda was that he was diverting attention from the real driving force behind nuclear power - creating an alibi, as it were - for Gordon Brown and his government by nuclear caucus. Blair and Brown are old allies. They fell out when Blair out-stayed his welcome and Brown grew impatient to succeed him. So, to make up to Brown, Blair indulged the pet craze of a fellow control freak. Blair provocatively took the flak for an unpopular policy: nuclear power "back with a vengeance."

Blair's reward would be continued contact and influence with the man still in power. This is the network politics of a global elite remote from democratic accountability. Mr Blair actually excused his board appointment as being merited by his connections.

Gordon Brown was supposed to be a more serious politician than Tony Blair. But the lack of seriousness of Brown and Cameron was evident on the day of the momentous decision for more nuclear plants. Both party leaders were conveniently taking time off to grandstand with two of the countries top sportsmen. Not only Cameron can say he is "Blair's heir." This makes of publicity an alibi to distract from controversial decisions.

A group of scientists condemned the Brown government's decision to build new nuclear power stations as undemocratic and possibly illegal. Also in january 2008, The Guardian reported a row about "financial sweeteners" being offered to induce offers from private firms.

The energy minister has put no cap on the number of new nuclear power stations that may be built. This was a predictable consequence of the desire to profit by economies of scale. And I did predict this on my first page against the Labour government's obvious determination to change the 2003 energy review that decided on a renewable energies future.

Basicly the Labour government wants Britain's energy production to go the French way rather than the German way. Britain has not been given the choice. As far as government might be concerned, big is beautiful, and the people are a prey to corporate feeding frenzies. It just so happens that Gordon Brown's brother Andrew is a director in the French nuclear power industry. My second page, on nuclear power, also noted Brown friends and colleagues heading atomic energy authorities and smoothing (steam-rollering) the planning difficulties.

The only radioactive dump in Britain is near a village which has been offered a further bribe. BBC news mentioned seventy five million pounds bribe for taking low-level waste and a billion bribe for high-level waste-takers. It is right to speak of bribes in the context of generations unborn having to take the consequences of immoral dumping on their future habitats. When present generations take money to ignore future generations' predicaments, that is a bribe.

It is barbaric to dump radioactive time bombs on the future. The nuclear industry may leave warning signs. They will only last so long. They may not be understood. There may not be anything that can be done about them. The situation is comparable to the terrorist planting of bombs. Sometimes there are warnings. Sometimes they are in time. Sometimes they can be acted on...

Who needs enemies, when youve got a government that puts the nuclear industry's meal ticket first.

It is one thing to honor the offices of government, it is another to honor uncriticly the decisions of their frail incumbents. It appears that the English are still too prone to honor an authority, however ill come by. It is time England stood up for itself, as indeed Scotland resists more nuclear plants.

To build-up the immune system of the constitution

I wont labor the point of the sub-title of this page: The need to build up the immune system of the constitution against parasite politics.
It is the theme of much of this site, that the voters need effective choice of representatives and their policies, such as on energy. This would be provided by the single transferable vote for all official elections. STV is the democratic method and the scientific method of elections.

The motto is: Britain has half a dozen undemocratic voting methods where the transferable voting method would do.

Plainly, the series of campaign financing irregularities by politicians means that there has to be a limit on spending far beyond the means needed to merely present an honest argument that the public can make an intelligent decision on. It shouldnt be a propaganda battle like the Common Market referendum that allowed the business interests of the Yes campaign's bad deal (for the country) to spend twice as much as the No campaign. You couldnt get away from the smiling-family bill-boards.

The result was a comparable proportion of votes cast, for the two sides. The argument against disproportionate spending (above a reasonable publicity level for both sides) is decisive. If you dont need over-spending to win your case, prove it by not indulging, and so strengthen the legitimacy of a win. The correlation of greater spending with US presidential victories undermines their legitimacy.

Public polls continue to dismiss the impudence of the two-party oligarchy in claiming (involuntary) state funding for political parties. The two main parties glorify their parasitism as needed for "democracy". (They already claim twenty million one way or another. And it still isnt enough to over-come their unpopularity.)

Besides STV as scientific elections, an other constitutional protection against parasite politics would be two-chamber representation of the scientific relation between theory and practise. Vocational representation in the second chamber (also by STV) would bring specialist experience to test the political laws of the Commons or communities.

A vested interest, like atomic energy, by offering key posts and buying connections, may hi-jack the government, or indeed the two-party oligarchy, to force and prolong its failure on the nation. This is at the expense of other interests such as renewables research funding. Other interests in the second chamber, if democraticly represented, would have a powerful platform to resist the nuclear steam-roller driven by the government.

Of course that would not suit the all-powerful executive. But people were long since sick of it, in both national and in local government with their winner-takes-all voting systems.

British government's renewable energy sins of omission

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Germany, one of the great engineering nations, has decided to phase out nuclear power. France, which is not, is over-whelmingly reliant on it. Neither Germany nor France have been rich in energy. Even France made use of their tidal power resources by building a tidal barrier, some forty years ago. Britain has the best tidal power resources in the world and, in all that time, has built nothing.

Why bother when there were all those valuable petro-chemicals off-shore, which, to use as fuel, was like burning money? That was after the government allowed itself to be black-mailed with the Common Fisheries Policy to join the Common Market. The Establishment gave away and depleted Churchill's "sea of fish" around an over-populated island that cannot feed itself.

In january 2006, the Carbon Trust identified, in Britain, 8 out of 20 possible sites in the world for tidal power stations. The Severn, Dee, Solway and Humber are ideal sites. Power could be provided 10 hours a day while the tide goes in and out. They estimated 3% of the nation's electricity suppliable by 2020, and up to 20%.

With regard to other renewables, there was the odd hydro-electic station, after which, British government lay back exhausted of innovation. The British government's energy policy is guilty of sins of omission, neglect of renewables, and sins of commission, a centralised energy over-lordship and serfdom to radioactive containment.

British government, like France's, has been the most highly centralised in Europe. And it seems to be able only to conceive energy policy on national terms. It's only recently that David Cameron talked of decentralising energy. Alistair Darling, spoke on the government's dependent energy review. (The Labour government wouldnt allow an independent energy review in case it gave the answer they didnt want again). Darling spoke of the national grid as if it was a national treasure. But it wastes some thirty per cent of energy in transmission, rather than meeting people's needs locally and economicly.

The centralists mistake grandiosity for progress, like some impoverished Third World dictatorship neglecting their people's needs in favor of prestige projects. When the centralists even think about tidal power, it is in terms of a huge Severn barrage. This could meet 5% of the national energy supply but it would be both high impact and vulnerable. Tho incomparably better than nuclear power, a more resilient option might be tidal lagoons for the estuaries right round the British Isles supplied locally.

Power and policy-making is concentrated in the nation state, as if it is medieval and reactionary and beneath them to consider the modern technological version of the mill for producing local electricity from running water. But remote and over-bearing nationalism and inter-nationalism, such as the European Union, on balance, looks more of a menace than an assistance to ordinary people's needs.

And let's not forget the prematurely abandoned funding into wave power. This technology was called Salter's ducks. One can mention other possibilities like biomass and geothermal energy and so on. Green campaigners talk about an energy mix of renewables to cover all our needs.

The broad refusal to use Britain's abundant gifts of nature makes nonsense of the energy minister John Hutton's claim that we have to use the resources we've got, as if nuclear was the only option. He was speaking to Jon Snow on Channel 4 when the nuclear decision was announced. A few days before that, on The Politics Show, he did come out in favor of wind power turbines stationed round the British coast to supply Britain's homes. The Independent reported this as a reversal of policy from giving to nuclear power what wind power could do without the waste that cannot be disposed of.

On the same show, the Tory spokesman insinuated that nuclear power, like wind power, might be subsidised. It sounds like a private fund-seeking party feeling the pinch from a disaffected public. The BBC presenter showed a previous film of him saying that nuclear power was only a method of last resort. The spokesman appeared to shrug off the embarrassment of one evidently not to be taken seriously. He didnt try to explain his turn-about nor contradict the presenter's assessment that nuclear power was fine with the Tories, now.

Of course nuclear power has had fifty years of subsidies. The funding of wind-power and renewables in general is minute by comparison. The Liberal Democrat energy spokesman said Europe was far ahead of us on renewable energy research and that the British government's efforts were "pathetic". And nuclear power is still a deadly failure, thru its undisposable by-products, that threaten the survival of mankind and vertebrate life in general on the planet.

The government's nuclear energy sins of commission

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Wind power remains expensive, tho, as John Hutton said, it might become less so. Nuclear power is incomparably the most expensive energy source because of the unwanted by-products and social costs that economics, as distinct from ecology and evolution, selfishly ignores. Liberty depends on eternal vigilance. But radioactive waste will take away liberty with the eternal vigilance required for protection from it.

Defense is diverted from defending the citizens to defending the nuclear power stations and their offensive by-products. That is as well as being a hidden but massive military and police subsidy of nuclear power's unreal profits to their deluded investors.

And the mining of uranium for nuclear power is not carbon-neutral. While nuclear power absorbs huge resources, that could be better used than to contribute a minimal 4% against global warming.

The Scottish National Party coalition refused planning permission for more nuclear power stations in Scotland. Giving the impression of the government hiding behind the name Westminster, it was reported that "Westminster" (The UK parliament) called "Holyrood" (the Scottish parliament) "irresponsible". The government dont know the meaning of the word. The trouble is that the British executive dominates its legislature.

The executive has also ignored the third branch of government, the judiciary. When Gordon Brown became prime minister, without a contest, his first question time announced more nuclear power. This was despite a judge's ruling that the Labour government's energy enquiry (called to over-turn a previous enquiry) had not properly consulted the public. The judge called for a further enquiry which the new PM was ignoring. Greenpeace sent him a solicitor's letter.

SNP leader Alex Salmond said, in The Scotsman, Scotland had no need of nuclear electricity last year. (Before becoming first minister Salmond had proposed putting a million pound surcharge on the British government's transporting nuclear weapons in Scotland. - They are not toys.)

In october 2007, Dounreay, the Caithness nuclear plant was found to have about a hundred radioactive hot-spots on the surrounding beach. A clean-up plan involves a multi-million pound dredging of the local sea-bed.
In july 2007, an inquiry was held into the removal of body organs, from 65 workers, apparently without their families consent. They died between 1962 and 1991, and were mostly at Sellafield nuclear re-processing plant in Cumbria.

Thanks to the Scottish first minister, it makes a change to hear the British government having to bleat about someone being "irresponsible," because for once it is as powerless as ordinary citizens. It should do the powerful good to feel powerless. But it is doubtful whether they would ever get used to feeling the frustration that public-spirited people feel from being ignored over the well-being of all future generations.

In april 2006, 35 groups, including Greenpeace and the National Farmers Union urged the government to go green. They called for a 2015 dead-line for all new buildings to be carbon-neutral, to eliminate inefficient products from the market, cut energy demand and boost renewable energy.

Campaigners need to get together in such alliances to have a better chance of being heard. A Democratic Policy-making Alliance is needed, in particular, against the nuclear steam-roller driven by the Brown government, being waved thru by Cameron's Tories. Now the Tories have nothing to lose vote-wise to a Labour party more nuke-crazed than they honestly were under Michael Howard, before the 2005 general election.

An Electoral Reform Society campaign asked whether we think there is something rotten with our democracy. During the week that Peter Hain was another politician to be investigated for campaign funding irregularities, the Brown government quietly dropped his party commitment to a referendum on proportional representation. BBC Newsweek mentioned this went almost unnoticed.

Nuclear Winter

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Gordon Brown's pronouncement, that a new generation of Trident nuclear submarines is needed against the likes of N Korea, is nuclear investors' eye-wash. It has more to do with boosting a flagging industry, while the armed services have taken unnecessary casualties and are being stretched beyond their limits.

Try telling China and Japan and other neighbors that it is acceptable to retaliate against N Korea. The rush of nations to go nuclear, via the nuclear power back door, makes local nuclear war more likely.

Also, a question has been raised about the long-term stability of nuclear weapons. It is of the natural order of things for systems to degrade and become more error-prone. (The second law of thermodynamics.) There is a storage and maintenance and security problem, which is often just too much trouble and expense. But it would be irresponsible for the world's leaders to just hope for the best.

The astronomer Carl Sagan and colleagues researched the probability that a local nuclear exchange was enough for Nuclear Winter over the whole globe, a menace to all vertebrate life on the planet. This would throw up a dark cloud covering the skies. For lack of sun-light, the crops could not grow.

Previous estimates had assumed that governments could retire to their bunkers, supported by the army, for about three months. And that when the fall-out washed out of the air and the water supply, it would be safe for them to come out and start their blunders all over again. An other factor left out was the massive increase in the use of synthetic materials. A global Bhopal would result from burning chemical substances released into the atmosphere.
Gordon Brown proposed a uranium bank to facilitate the dotting of more nuclear plants all around the world. These would be the most lethal kind of bank for war to invest in mankind's ending.

Escalations of a local conflict are also probable, as in the two world wars. Sagan pointed out that warring nations could not afford to leave others out of the destruction, lest they move in and take over what was left.

The world has to become a civil society, outlawing wars as gang muggings. The penalties for neglecting a robust inter-national law are too serious to ignore. Britain needs a national debate not Brown's nuclear business as usual. Indeed, we need an inter-national conference, as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has urged.

Richard Lung.
5 February 2008.

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