I am sure that every single person who watch the tsunami engulf parts of Japan last week felt the same way I did – awestruck. what we were watching was a relatively rare event, certainly rare in such a populated area of the world (you can’t get much more populated than Japan). Could more have been done to prevent deaths? Probably not, apart from moving the whole Japanese population to the mountains, forever! What is even more disturbing (to some) is the risk of nuclear ‘meltdown’ and radiation leaks. Just be grateful that japan is an island nation and pray that the wind keeps blowing off shore from the affected power plants.

So why does Japan have so many nuclear power stations, considering it lies on a major earthquake zone? Japan far exceeds its own natural ability to create energy against its need. It has limited space for hydro, no fossil fuels to call its own and I presume no wind turbines because of the regular tremors. Nuclear was really the only option left for a country totally dependent on electricity to function at any level.

Let the events in Japan be a warning to us in the UK. We are now net importers of all fuels required for our own power plants, and we are heading into a new era of nuclear power stations to fill the energy gap being left by loss of fossil fuels and low carbon requirements. One clear aspect of energy security is ‘variety’ of sources (i.e. not putting all of your eggs into one basket). The world as we know it is changing. we have had our party time, chugging out CO2 and trashing the planet in the process. Now is the time to clean up the mess before the parents come home. So what are we doing? By relying on nuclear power are we just sweeping the mess under the carpet, to re-surface in years to come as a toxic sticky mess? I think so. I think we need to invest as much as we can into truley renewable energy sources. After all, you never get a ‘solar’ spill, or a wind turbine meltdown, nor will we run out of sun or wind. Ever. Lois Prior x

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