I am pleased to see somebody in the anti-nuclear power movement saying exactly what the arguments against it are (M Star May 20).
2. CO2 being produced by nuclear plants
3. The question whether there is a need for such electricity at all.
Elliot Folan does not dispute that the safety argument is bogus.
Indeed he criticises Unite, not for accepting that it is safe but merely for not being deterred by the other two arguments.
Considering that the world coal industry kills about 150,000 annually and the total death toll from the nuclear generation over the last 20 years is two, nuclear is clearly safer by many orders of magnitude.
The argument that nuclear produces unacceptable amounts of CO2 is false.
Because it does not involve conventional burning, nuclear produces a minuscule amount, indeed much less, per kilowatt, than windmills, which appear to be acceptable to windmill supporters.
The question of a "need" for the electricity is a different sort of argument. That there is a close relationship between electricity use and GNP is undisputed by any economist.
There is no question that we could get out of recession, if those in power wanted it, by allowing the provision of inexpensive nuclear power (at one-tenth or less the cost of windmills). The argument against needing power then is a purely philosophical one.
Do we wish progress, growth and reduction in poverty or do we want a return to medievalism?
Unite, which has a duty to support its members' interests, has no choice but to support progress. Indeed nobody with any respect for the history of socialism could do otherwise.
The traditional "left" should look on that as an opportunity to offer a far better, technologically progressive, alternative.
It is another attempt by me to state the traditional socialist position when "progressive" was literally true because the movement supported progress.
Mr Folan's letter that i reply did indeed, in giving his anti-nuclear argument, say "By welcoming the findings that nuclear power in Britain appears safe, they miss the point" which suggests to me that his definition of "the point" is bizarre.
It was replied to the next day
which gave 2 new arguments - that a radiation leak from a nuclear plant could be dangerous, implicitly denying that the SO2 or indeed radiation from a coal plant could, and that they can be used to make bombs which most nuclear plants can't just as most passenger aircraft can't drop nuclear bombs. Then on 31st May came another
giving as the 4th and remaining reason - nuclear "waste".which cannot be disposed of because though it can be disposed of by "digging a big hole to put it in, the so-called "deep repository." When you consider the thousands of years it will have to be protected, what guarantees are there that during this time climate change won't cause land to shift, tunnels to collapse, water to seep in - and out - carrying its burden of radioactivity?". The answer being that since reactor waste, precisely because it is so radioactive it has a short half life and will be almost all gone in decades rather than thousands of years. Then on 2nd June came a 3rd letter, again dependent on the waste argument,
assuring it "has not been solved" because "radioactivity which lasts for years - we don't yet know how long". Well yes we do Radioactive element half lives are elementary.
I very much regret not having followed the Star further and thus lost the chance, at least for now, to answer such claims.