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Nuclear Gets Glowing Endorsement

The government has backed plans to develop 10 new nuclear power stations. According to Greenpeace these will only cut carbon emissions by 4% by 2025 — too little, too late. Though Greenpeace may not be the most independent source of statistics, I remain hugely sceptical about the wisdom of investing in nuclear fission.

Historically it has been a hugely inefficient source of power, requiring huge financial support from the government to maintain its viability. Though the government claims the costs will not be met by the tax payer, the fact is that we all have to pay for electricity. If nuclear comes to represent 20% of our generating capacity as the government forecasts, that could mean a serious increase in electricity prices. Though the industry claims the new generation of reactors are more efficient, the nuclear industry is already pushing for a government set minimum price for carbon emissions — only when this rises above a certain level does nuclear power become profitable. The higher the price of carbon, the higher the price of power.

They say ‘better the devil you know’, but history shows only failure for nuclear power. The government has invested only miserable sums in alternative energy research — certainly relative to the massive subsidies received by the nuclear industry. Perhaps they might want to consider throwing some big money at alternatives before jumping back in to bed with a very dirty devil.

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New Year’s Revolutions

Pardon the trite title. Like most at this time of year I feel like I need a holiday to get over the holiday. A week in some austere, distant health spa to re-energise my brain and rid me of the toxins (and tummy) brought on by excessive consumption of turkey (and Wild Turkey). Despite the hangover of a particularly Bacchanalian fortnight, and the appalling weather, I am optimistic for the new year. Surprisingly my optimism is fuelled by events across the Atlantic.

Watching the progress of the presidential primaries has been hugely heartening. There are candidates on each side (Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinic) campaigning on pure political beliefs, rather than following the herd and trying to respond to every whim of the focus groups. If only we had more politicians over here willing to be so brave. Though neither of these candidates may win, they are at least driving debate in to some key areas and reminding voters that some politicians actually stand for something. Turnout in the New Hampshire primaries has been high as a result of people actually believing it is worth voting.

The fact that the Republicans have never looked like such also-rans also puts a smile on my face. The future will certainly look brighter without the GOP in the White House.

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Las Veg@s

In Las Vegas the world’s largest technology fair is progressing. Though there may be some more idiotic inventions out there (Taser gun with integrated MP3 player anyone?), the gadget industry appears to be in rude health. Good news for geeks everywhere.

Tom Cheesewright