As the world is bracing itself for a nuclear catastrophe in Japan, should we stop building nuclear power plants in the UK? If so, would you be willing to minimise your electricity consumption to avoid going nuclear?
No one can be left insensitive to the footage of entire villages being swept away by the tsunami after the recent earthquake in Japan.
And, if an earthquake and a tsunami were not enough, Japan now braces itself for a possible nuclear disaster. So while we’re all watching the events unfold, should our government reconsider nuclear power?
Changes have already been made, with an announcement today that there will be a crackdown on safety tests at European nuclear plants. But should we stop investing in nuclear power?
A vicious circle
The more electricity we need, the more electricity we have to produce. Conventional electricity production, based on fossil fuel, creates greenhouse gases which in turn are responsible for climate change.
Climate change means rising temperatures, which lead to more extreme weather conditions and more frequent and violent natural disaster like typhoons, flooding, droughts, etc.
In turn, these extreme events, like last week’s horrible earthquake and tsunami in Japan result in death, displacement, and even a threat from nuclear power plants.
Is this Mother Nature taking her revenge on climate change and rectifying the balance?
More nuclear plants?
While nuclear power is deemed ‘low carbon’ in comparison to more conventional fossil fuel based power generation, the risks attached to nuclear when things go wrong are very high.
At the same time, our governments, in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions and alleviate climate change, are proposing to build more nuclear power plants. With more natural disasters likely to happen all of us could be at a higher risk of nuclear catastrophes.
One rational solution would be to stop building nuclear power stations altogether, but this would in turn require more investment in renewable energy and a reduction in our power consumption. So how far are we actually prepared to go to reduce the electricity we all use?
Do you think we should stop building nuclear power plants in the UK, or should we continue building them as we are, albeit with a greater concentration on safety?