Uranium is finite too

Once again I am dismayed to find our modest efforts towards a sustainable future being lambasted by correspondents to your paper.

In particular D Pateman of Ilfracombe (“Turbines are useless”, Opinion, April 10) wrote to say that we should be following the likes of China and India in building hundreds of coal-fired power stations. I find it hard to believe that people can still be so short-sighted.

If China and India are building the best part of 800 coal-fired power stations, how long does he think coal reserves will last, and why does he think it’ll be cheaper than wind, wave and solar?

Nuclear power seems to be the other string to his bow, but uranium doesn’t grow on trees. It’s mined – it’s finite.

Then there’s the cost not only to the environment, but to the taxpayer. In Devon we get a significant amount of our electricity from Hinkley Point, where the new reactor has – this year alone – cost £100million. That’s a million pounds per day.

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It won’t be ready for 10 years, and is likely to have cost £14billion. One has to ask just how much sustainable energy could be generated if you spent £14billion? And note the word sustainable – not an energy source relying on mined, finite raw materials.

Only today EDF has said it is scaling back the build programme – they want assurances that they can charge high prices for the electricity, otherwise there is no point in financing the project.

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If we get our act together in 10 years’ time we’ll have so much wind, solar and hydro power that no one will want to pay that high price. If!

£14billion is the equivalent of £600 for every household in Britain. Surely with the economies of scale involved we could all have a solar roof for that much and there’d be no need for Hinkley Point.

Ah, but that wouldn’t suit big business – so I think we can kiss that one goodbye.


Stephen Tindall


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