Just a quick one - this started out as a response to Anders Hanson's latest post, but got a bit out of hand! It follows on from discussion of green issues that have been on many Lib Dem blogger's minds lately, as you'll see if you visit his blog.
I have had the nuclear-as-green spiel from a couple of Lib Dem members. The argument starts from the same page as everyone: that we do need to stop burning coal and gas to produce energy, as it's polluting the earth and galloping through limited resources. Solar and wind power are all very well, say nuclear enthusiasts, and should be used much more, but they say we would need nuclear energy as something turn-off-and-onable to ensure continuity of supply as both the sun and the wind are so variable. Of course, storing power is not an easy task - if we could just keep it in a big warehouse or reservoir when we have a surplus, and send it down the wires when we need it, that would be lovely, but we just don't have the technology.
Fair enough then. What other sources of electricity could be turned on and off at will to fill the gaps when demand is greater than a wind/solar supply? To me the obvious answer is hydro and wave power - but I'm told I'm being naive and that even if we could build the infrastructure we need to combine those sources into a reliable energy network that could provide everything we need on demand, it would take so long that more nuclear power is still needed as a medium-term interim measure.
Hrrrmmm. I don't know. I still think that ensuring security of electricity supply by building nuclear power stations around the country is about as well-advised as ensuring security of your home by sticking landmines around your garden. I grew up hearing the stories of Windscale and Chernobyl, and you can tell me it's not the same these days until you're blue in the face, I just can't see how you can guarantee that accidents won't happen.