Well it’s so clean isn’t it.
No nasty smoke, no digging up the earth or ruining the landscape with those horrid oil mines.
Also, we don’t really like those elegant rows of modernist windmills that line our hilltops or marine horizons and we don’t have much faith in solar energy in this country where the sun don’t always shine.
So, quietly but surely, we the silent, not too bothered about voting, population of these isles have gone round to the nuclear option and dreams of cheap and clean electricity one day running all our computer games and even our cars.
So we turn a blind eye, as most of us have for decades now on that monument to the nuclear future, Sellafield on the beautiful Cumbrian coastline, Britain’s high-level nuclear waste storage site run by the government’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
It’s not a good idea to think about Cumbrian seagulls these days though if you want to sleep peacefully in your nuclear-powered future.
As with many con-tricks, it is often the simplest of things that gives the tricksters away.
Take those Cumbrian seagulls. All they are doing is carrying on in their seagull way – flying around over Europe’s most contaminated industrial site and then settling on one of those nice ponds inside the 645 acres of Sellafield’s heavily fenced off territory. Apparently this land has become a virtual wildlife reserve, “overrun” in some people’s eyes by stray carts, mice and, yes seagulls.
Those small Olympic pool-sized lakes that the seagulls enjoy swimming on are in fact holding ponds and the theory is that the water is a natural barrier to the metal boxes of uranium and plutonium kept underneath.
There is not problem in theory of course unless anything went wrong.
So far in the last ten years there have only been seven safety breaches there of as the chilling phrase goes “actual consequence.” So we should be OK, I guess.
Well Sellafield’s personable media relations manager was explaining the insignificance of this plague of seagulls. He tells us that there are 350 animal carcasses being stored in the site’s industrial freezers because under the rules caracasses found on the site are not allowed to decay naturally because they are considered “putrescent nuclear waste.”
You see! It is all perfectly safe in there, my ass! I know you can tell me that these are just sensible precautions but, come on, does that sound safe and clean to you?
I have never understood how nuclear power could ever be considered safe until we know how to get rid of his waste products. Sellafield has about 40,000 cubic metres of nuclear waste on this site, some of it there since the 1950s and which will not be considered safe for hundreds of thousands of years. How reassuring is that?
Nuclear power, let’s remember Chernobyl here, is just another catastrophe waiting to happen.
So next time you throw some bread to some friendly seagulls just think that you are possibly feeding a future piece of putrescent nuclear waste and then look a bit closer to what the major political parties now all seem to agree on. Namely that we have no alternative to our future power supplies than nuclear energy.
Think again, I humbly suggest.