Friday, August 08, 2008

Arthur Scargill makes case for UK coal future.

2 comments:

Oli said...

In the face of so much uncertainty I can't help thinking that a portfolio approach is going to be the best way to manage the risks around any country's energy policy. So, yeah, it makes sense that coal should continue to play a part of the UK's energy portfolio.

However, so too should nuclear. Unfortunately we already have nuclear waste that needs to be managed, so it's already not a 'no waste vs some waste' kind of decision.

It would be interesting to see the current health risks to workers in a modern nuclear power plant compared to workers in a modern deep coal mine.

Also, did you see this story on medium term supply / demand pressures on the price of oil:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7549044.stm

phil jones said...

Agree on the portfolio.

Arguments for nuclear and against coal seem to be global warming arguments rather than energy-shortage argument.

I don't know, but I'd guess that burning coal cleanly is just a financial constraint, ie. we understand the science sufficiently to create the right kind of filters, it's just the money to install them and the political will to insist upon it. Whereas we have no technology to really make nuclear waste safe yet.

I'd say what we need with nuclear is another 30 years serious research ... by which time we may have invented safer ways to handle the waste (ideally recycling it several times until we've consumed all that dangerous radiation as more energy.)

The main thing that strikes about that bbc news piece is how it backs-up the contention of the peak oil people that the mainstream media never reports peak oil as a cause of the high prices. Note how the report / analyst shoots down a straw-man by saying "While there is plenty of oil in the ground" and then blames all kinds of other factors *except* that the rate of consumption is outstripping the rate of discovery.