THE DRIVE FOR NUCLEAR POWER
What forces lie behind the worldwide drive for new nuclear generating capacity? The answer is simple and is exactly parallel to the forces driving the arms trade. The answer is money and power.
Control Room at a nuclear power plant
Nuclear power is a very expensive way to generate electricity but in this lies its attraction for the big transnational players. There is profit to be made from mining the ore, from the elaborate processes in preparing and recycling the fuel, in constructing the power stations and the huge contracts involved in the safe disposal of the waste. Thoughts such as producing electricity (a universal benefit) at minimum cost, simply do not come into the equation. Who will pay? The consumers will pay either through increased electricity prices or through taxation.
There are of course much more cost efficient and less hazardous ways of producing electricity with no fuel costs and no waste costs (wind, hydro, tidal and solar) but these are not nearly as attractive to the big players: the input energy is for free and there is no waste on which to profiteer.
The other force, that is driving the nuclear power station agenda, is the lust for full spectrum dominance, the US project in which Britain has proved to be a willing accomplice and about which Putin is becoming increasingly worried.
It has to be understood that a nuclear power station is not only a device for producing electricity but also has the potential to become a giant radiological landmine. If the reactor core were breached, the radiation released could cause death and debilitating disease over vast areas, even exceeding the radiation effects arising from a nuclear bomb. At the G8 St.Petersberg summit in 2006, Putin put forward the idea of floating nuclear power stations to provide power to remote localities and third world developing countries. The supply and reprocessing of fuel would remain entirely in the hands of the G8 Powers.
The first of 8 such power station is now under construction in northern Russia and Russia is currently in negotiation with Namibia, a country rich in uranium ore, to build further floating nuclear power stations in SW Africa.
Developments of this kind could, of course, give the western nuclear powers a stranglehold on countries that their economies use as sources of raw materials.
CND has long been aware that fuel enrichment processes and reactor waste can be a source of nuclear bomb making material. However, at this present time, it is important to understand that the rupturing of a power station reactor, while not causing a nuclear explosion, will release radiation in excess of that released by a nuclear bomb.
We live in very dangerous times. While it may be illegal to deploy nuclear bombs, it is not illegal to deploy nuclear power stations. Nuclear Power? No Thanks!