Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A nuclear future, could energy use become a form of oppression?

Recently it seems that energy demand is back in the news as the labour party announce that we are not on line to meet proposed pollution reduction targets. This brings to light again the ongoing debate over utilising nuclear power to enable such pollution targets and energy demand to be met. David b sent me a link to a report by a group called christian ecology link, which can be read here, who oppose the use of nuclear power.
Thankfully this report was produced stating that this was not the view held by all christians, which is good, so often it seems that people are talking on behalf of the entire christian community without acknowledging the communities diversity. But what do I think, well, it certainly is a difficult issue, but if we want to continue using energy at the current rate then I see that nuclear seems to be a sensible option. Even if we don't use nuclear power in this country, we continue to import energy from places like france, which of course gets most of it's electricity from nuclear power. It's not something I'm really clued up on, but it seems that nuclear energy is probably the best solution to meet growing energy needs and pollution reduction targets.
I'm no economist either, but I realise that energy use and consumption is linked to economic progress, and simply moving high energy consuming, and large polluting businesses to other countries solves the problem only for the uk. I think that if we are to consider these questions in the light of being stewards of God's creation, then it is important that we consider the creation as a whole. I don't believe it is prudent for the West to begin implementing stringent pollution and energy reduction measures on the entire world, that will of course result in economic slow down in those developing countries. This is where my argument for the use of nuclear stems from, though I don't believe that this is the answer alone, it needs to be part of regulated energy saving and increase use of renewable sources too. If we wish to see africa exit it's cycle of poverty, and see the continued development of the developing countries, we must expect their energy demands to increase. It's extremely unlikely that we in the West will wish to change our lifestyle habits to use less energy, despite increasing costs. Though some of the extreme energy wastage like air conditioned gardens should be abolished. So in order for these developing countries to meet such growing energy demands, whilst trying not to increase pollution, nuclear would seem a prudent option. I know there are all kinds of concerns about nuclear waste and the threat of terrorist activities, but is it right to inhibit the economic growth and the energy consumption of the poorest nations by imposing strong anti-nuclear and anti-fossil fuel legislation. To me this becomes yet another form of oppression of the rich on the poor. Nuclear perhaps isn't the best answer, but i think it will become a necessity. I'm well aware of the carbon and financial costs of building and decommissioning nuclear reactors, but if we develop a good system of management and safety that is implemented worldwide it could create an industry in itself, thereby reducing much of these costs through competition.
hmm this is a bit rambly, and it is a difficult issue, and perhaps requires more thought and prayerful consideration by christian communities. Of course it won't, they seem too busy faffing around with their own internal structures or worrying about gays and women.

But if you want to have a go at working out a good electricity energy use strategy for the uk by 2020 the bbc have a good electricity calculator you should give it a go.


moog said...

on the electricity calculator the best result i've found is 120kWh on fossil, nuclear and renewable, energy saving at -40kWh.

James Aach said...

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