Scientists, politicians and media have been screeching, for the past 30 or so years, about the need to transition away from carbon based fossil fuels, (coal, gas and oil,) as a matter or urgency or risk destroying the life supporting ecology of our planet by overloading the system with Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emitted from human activity. Unfortunately scientists are not as smart as they think they are, politicians are not smart but know how to manipulate people into thinking they are, and the media will write or say anything that will earn a Euro a Yuan a buck or a pound.
But so long as politicians think supporting decarbonisation will earn them votes and scientists believe producing scare stories about catastrophic climate change being an existential threat to humanity will save them from the thing they fear most, (having to get proper jobs and get some effing work done,) there are a few major obstacles between civilised communities and the goal to transition to a net zero-carbon
economy. In spite of advances in renewable energy technology so called 'clean energy', this CO2 free electricity is mainly produced from intermittent and unreliable sources. Thus the gas and coal fired plants must be kept running as backup for when the wind does not blow and the sun doesn't shine.
Additionally the inability of 'sustainables' to sustain supply twenty four hours a day, three hundred and sixty five days a year, and the incredible economic growth of emerging economies such as China, India, Pakistan, Brazil and Nigeria and demand for energy is growing at a rate the producers are finging had to keep pace with. After 30 years of eco - activists' wailing and gnashing of teeth over the polluting effect of CO2, a trace atmospheric gas that is essential to the survival of carbon based life forms (i.e. every living thing,) and demands that CO2 emissions be radically reduced, globally more fossil fuels than ever, are being consumed and our rate of CO2 production is in fact increasing, not heading to zero.
But there’s a well established, totally reliable, environmentally friendly solution with over sixty years history in energy production, nuclear energy, still waiting for its moment to become the primary source for domestic and industrial electricity is CO2 free and ticks most of the other boxes.Good grief, next they'll be informing us, in their lofty and condescending way that yes, bears do actually shit in the woods. Sadly nuclear technology is still being held back by prejudices based on decades of environmentalist propaganda but throughout the decades of scaremongering about peak oil, acid rain, and climate change the answer to our energy problems has been staring policy makers in the face.
Having worked in the UK nuclear industry for five years (not as a physicist or engineer but a humble Informations Systems and Networks Consultant,) thus able to talk to highly knowledgable people and read publications not available to the general public, I can support the expansion of
nuclear energy as an environmentally friendly solution to address both
the world’s energy problems and, perhaps counterintuitively, as a
catalyst for peace and unity. If CO2 is the enemy as those who insist "The Science Is Settled" would have us believe, then unclear is at least as environment friendly as wind turbines or solar panels and infintely more reliable.
Additionally nuclear energy has the ability to be scaled at an industrial level, globally: Uranium 235 has millions more times energy than coal or oil. In order to provide the equivalent power to a single, 1 Gigawatt nuclear plant, an estimated 9,100,000 2 Megawatt wind turbines (yes, that's nine million,) would have to be built, covering an area of around 350 square miles. Peak UK demand is approximately 30 Gigawatts. And the great myth of this environmentally friendly energy source, its dirty secret, is that in reality it is far from CO2 free, it simply moves the emissions away from the generating plant itself to the places where the materials are mined, the cement for the enormous concrete beds the giant turbine towers neeed is produced and the equipment is manufactured.
Nuclear energy became unpopular in the 1950s due to the association with nuclear weapons and perceived risks of imminent buclear conflict stoked up by cold war rhetoric. But its actual safety record in electricity generation shows it is one of the safest sources of energy, We must get over our cognitive and political bias: Nuclear energy is necessary and safe, and not the same as nuclear weapons.It is essential to expand the development of nuclear energy not only to meet satisfy the scaremongers and meet their often unrealistc demands on the carbon-free energy transition, but because nuclear energy is indeed environmentally friendly, and necessary.
I believe the so called 'fossil fuels' (a misnomer BTW,) will be with us and our descendents for centuries to come, generating electricity, fuelling vehicles providing heat for homes, commercial and industrial premises are not their only uses. How would we survive without plastics for example.