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Re: Earthquake in Japan

This is an event of monumental proportions, and clearly expresses the extreme danger of nuclear power. Petroleum tank farms and refineries might be subject to explosion, and have a local effect, but when a nuke power plant goes through a melt-down, the world-wide consequences are large indeed.

Thorium pellet-bed nuke power-plants are the best way to go for producing electricity, but still far more expensive than coal.

But for transportation uses, only petroleum-based fuels work at all well, and coal-fired power plants are by far the least costly for production of electricity.

CO2 is required for the building blocks of green plant life . . . as in the food we eat. More would be better.

Re: Earthquake in Japan

You mention the "extreme danger" of nuclear power, and you suggest that the ideal replacement would be coal. Have you any idea the rate at which people are killed in coal mining accidents, and how many have in fact been killed in the past by coal mining? I will give you a hint that the figure dwarfs that of those killed by civilian nuclear power generation, in a manner similar to how a mountain dwarfs a moal hill.

Also, the grave world wide consequences of the ********* accident have only been psychological, and the grave physical effects only local.

Re: Earthquake in Japan

Thank you Andrew. I agree with all you have said here.

I would add that the 100 years generally quoted to make the plant safe is approximately equivalent to the period normally quoted for decommissioning of a nuclear power plant. This period allows time for the radioactivity to decay considerably before final dismantling. Therefore there is noting unusual in the time to make the plant fully safe.

Re: Earthquake in Japan

In reply to Edward, I must admit to being taken aback by Monbiot declaring himself as a supporter of nuclear power after Fµkµshima. However it wasn't 100% unexpected, I remember back in 2005 or 2006 James Lovelock announced that there were several prominent British environmentalists who secretly supported the idea of using nuclear power to keep CO2 emissions down, but they could not go as far as declaring it in public. Monbiot was rumoured to be one of these secret supporters, and that did made some sort of sense, as Monbiot is one of the few British environmentalists who makes some sort of attempt to study things for himself rather than just parroting the views of others. Then in 2008 Monbiot declared that he was no longer opposed to nuclear power, and favoured it over coal. He now appears to have come completely out of the closet, so to speak. But I'm not sure what this does to Monbiot's career as the Guardian's top environmental journalist, I would have thought his days are numbered as it's almost part of the job description of being an environmental journalist to be anti-nuclear.

This issue of the Greenies being predominantly anti-nuclear reminds me of an issue regarding AGW sceptics that has puzzled me for years. Quite a lot of AGW sceptics are very keen on the terminolgy 'CAGW' where the C stands for catastrophic, it's in quite common use by commenters on AGW sceptic blogs and sometimes AGW sceptic bloggers use the terminology as well. I think I can see the idea behind it, it is probably intended to cover people like Bjorn Lomborg who is obviously not an AGW sceptic but could be more accurately described as a CAGW sceptic as he didn't (until about a year or so ago) want to spend any money on it, preferring to spend the money on other more worthwhile causes. The problem with the terminology is that most Greenies (apart from a few like Monbiot) are also in effect CAGW sceptics, as they clearly regard nuclear power as being a bigger threat to mankind than rising CO2 levels, otherwise they would be agreeable to its use in 'fighting climate change'. In Greenie world the current global fleet of nuclear power plants is a catastrophe in itself, and they think the population of the world is at risk from a 'meltdown' or just about any sort of radioactive release from any of these plants.