Monday, March 14, 2011

The Energy Gap

I spent my younger days admiring the CND, and then tried to make a documentary for Channel 4 about the dodgy practices (by American managers) at the Trawsfynydd nuclear power plant in my native Snowdonia. (Ironically, they kind of got away with a very bad experiment, but it does have around 3,000 year to go..).

However, as everyone frets over the nuclear threat in Japan, I have become a huge fan of nuclear. The reason is simple. We either have to get rid of three quarters or more of the world's population, or accept nuclear.

Everything in our world is defined by energy. All foreign policy is determined by oil, not what is right or wrong.

And this explains why France is the only country to recognise the rebel element in Libya. Because almost four fifths of French energy comes from nuclear. Iraq and the Middle East 'problem' is irrelevant to the French since they don't have to be nice to some of the most obnoxious regimes on earth in order to get their black gold.

We sit in the UK worrying about Sky TV and regulation, but what we desperately need is fifteen more nuclear plants to power our media consumption indulgences. OK, every few centuries one of them might blow up and destroy a corner of the UK, but I personally feel this is far better than wreaking horror on other countries in the name of 'freedom' (read=oil).

And don't underestimate how much power your Facebook page or YouTube video use. To produce, store, deliver and, more than anything, consume, there is a cost, currently paid in oil.

But, pretty soon you won't be able to power the internet with oil, you'll have to power it in some other way, and it won't be wind or wave energy. We desperately need to follow France and become a proper nuclear power.