Re: [SystemSafety] nuclear energy - disparate policies?

From: Andrew Rae < >
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2013 20:47:06 +0100

A fascinating question. Sir Mark Walport, the UK Chief Scientific Advisor, is on record as saying "And nuclear power remains central to tackling sustainably the world’s energy problems. Equally, it has the potential for global destruction on an unprecedented scale."

I think this is fairly clear support for nuclear power, even whilst recognising the risks. Note the context here - he was talking about dual-use technology, so I think he was emphasising the risks of nuclear weapons, not nuclear power per se, which makes it even clearer support for nuclear power.

The role of Chief Scientific Advisor doesn't have any formal power, and scientific advisors can end up in head-to-head conflict with the government, but I think it would be fair to say that Walport reflects a substantial body of scientific opinion that has the ear of the UK government on energy policy. As a general rule, anywhere that you don't have a major difference in policy between the three main parties it can indicate that the behind-the-scenes public servants are pushing a strong and consistent message.

The UK certainly has its share of anti-nuclear scientific opinion. If you search specifically for pro or anti nuclear published papers, you'll find more anti. That may be because the "pro" side holds more political influence though, and so has less need to advocate. (The pro articles tend to push for particular technologies rather than for nuclear power more generally).


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On 21 October 2013 18:44, René Senden <rene.senden_at_xxxxxx

> Dear all,
> Today I learned from BBC World News that the UK will be developing another
> nuclear facility for the purpose of generating energy.
> It was also said that UK’s PM indicated that (and I paraphrase).. “it will
> be one of hopefully many to come”.
> Although this hardly needs to be said on this list, please correct me
> if/where (deemed) necessary. I pretty much typed this posting within
> 2 minutes after hearing the news…
> There have been quite different, at times even opposite, political
> (re)considerations w.r.t. nuclear energy in the aftermath of the tragic
> accident in Japan, which happened not so long ago. A very pronounced
> difference in policy is, of course, Germany vs.. well.. most other
> countries…
> Is it strictly a matter of (inter)national politics or do the different
> national policies also reflect different opinions of the corresponding
> (relevant) experts and scientists serving those countries (whose expert
> judgement I assume to influence the policies set out by the politicians
> they
> advise) ?
> I am very interested in your thoughts on this.
> Rene
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systemsafety_at_xxxxxx Received on Mon Oct 21 2013 - 21:47:19 CEST

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