River Wissey Lovell Fuller

A letter to The Editor from Ron Watts

November 2009

Ron responds to previous issues of The Pump

Dear Ray

There were three items in the October issue that prompted me to write

a) I have been meaning to express my appreciation of April Lister's "Teenage Tangent". It is great to have a teenager writing for The Pump. I hope she will keep it up, but, if, at some time in the future she has to give it up. I hope she will persuade another teenager to pick up the baton.

I was sorry to read that the youth activities arranged at Watton were poorly supported, it is very disappointing. I have spoken to one or two youngsters and they did not know that these activities had been arranged. If April is still writing next summer perhaps she would let us know of any similar arrangements for next year before the event.

b) I was pleased to read Nevil Banham's letter, my thanks to him for putting the record straight in relation to Trevithick's contribution to the early development of steam power. I apologise for such an important omission from my article. I regret that I was too focussed on the part played by James Watt

c) I think you have probably given enough space in The Pump to the nuclear debate. The debate has been going on for years, everything that has been said on the subject would fill volumes. The decision to go for more nuclear power was clearly difficult, those responsible for making the decision have decided that the arguments 'for' were stronger than those 'against'. Unfortunately they dithered for too long. I will try and refrain from replying at length to John Preston's long article, most of which was restating the points he made before. I expressed my views on the matter in my last letter when I hope I addressed most of his arguments.

However, I would just like to make a few points:

To argue that it will take too long to build nuclear power stations in order to cut CO2 emissions suggests that there is a quicker way to cut those emissions from electricity generation. Short of introducing power cuts I cannot see one.

Whilst it may be true that there is 10,000 tons of nuclear waste, by far the larger part is low level waste that does not represent a major hazard.

Nobody knows how much uranium there is to be found in the world, neither does it follow that extracting uranium from the sea would necessarily damage the marine ecology.

I do agree with John that the best and possibly the cheapest ways to cut CO2 emissions is by using energy more efficiently and effectively. We are making progress in this respect but this too is a development that is inevitably slow.

Finally I would say that I think we need to remember that the UK contribution to global emissions is only about 2% and, whilst we should play our part in reducing emissions, we will have a negligible effect on the global situation.

Ron Watts

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