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July 16, 2009


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Thanks Paul. I don't know much about tidal power really but Professor David Mackay in his excellent book 'Sustainable Energy Without The Hot Air" estimates that the total that could be delivered by tidal energy is 11 kWh/day per person of power whilst he estimates we need to produce 50 kWh/day per person. Realistically it is unlikely we will be able to utilize the whole 11kWh and the technology is not well developed unlike nuclear power technology. It's not that it shouldn't be developed but will it really be sufficient? Please see http://www.withouthotair.com/ where the book is available for free online.

Kay Tie

I studied a tidal scheme years ago. It was pretty compelling stuff even back then. But any such schemes will bring the "you mustn't hurt Gaia" types out of the woodwork. And their shrill tones very much appeal to the BBC types. With all those anguished TV reports, you'd never get any scheme through a public planning inquiry.


Huw, I'd say it's more like the man broke into Josef Fritzl's house, and now proposes to ride off into the sunset and leave the wife and kids to be cared for by Fred West - as long as Fred promises to be good.

I suspect the British people who support the troops staying do so because we *don't* have a "not my problem" mentality, not because we don't care about what's going on. Just because they support staying now doesn't mean they think going in was a good idea in the first place. You're right, it shouldn't have happened. But it did, and now we're stuck with it.

Excellent points on tidal energy Paul; what's your position on the Severn barrage?


The new Nuclear Centre of Excellence sounds rather like it was intended as a UK contribution to Bush-instigated GNEP project (Global Nuclear Energy Partnership) - in simple terms nuclear reprocessing packaged as a claimed nuclear non-proliferation measure by a few "fuel supplier nations" controlling the global nuclear fuel cycle for the "user nations".

Trouble is Obama has only two weeks ago effectively cancelled the domestic US GNEP program. So yet again we seem to be out of step.



Paul Flynn

Thanks BobGom. I had a little rant yesterday about tidal power. La Rance is producing probably the cheapest electricity in the world. Britain has half of all europe tidal power potential. The power is enormous. The investment puny.

Hansard records:-
Paul Flynn: I am grateful for that contribution. I am familiar with the French nuclear power stations, but may I move on to a French success: La Rance? It generates probably the cheapest electricity on the planet, and it comes from a 30-year-old tidal barrage system on a river. The turbines are still in pristine condition, and they are using the immense power of the tide.

Mr. Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden) (Con): The hon. Gentleman said that that French tidal power station has been there for at least 30 years. If it is such a success, why have the French not replicated it elsewhere?

Paul Flynn: There are many mysteries in the personality of the French people that I do not understand. Many of them are entirely impenetrable to me, but I have raised this point many times in my frequent visits to Brittany. Because the French have not done that, however, there is no reason why we should not. As the paper said yesterday, we have an immense possibility for using tidal power. The paper said that half the opportunities for tidal power in the whole of Europe are around our coasts. They are not all tidal either. There is also the flow of water between Guernsey and France; an immense amount of energy is flowing there 24 hours a day. It will carry on eternally and it is untapped. If we could utilise this power with a range of barrages around our coast—or
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tidal lagoons, or just simple mills—we could have surges of electricity that would come when the tide flows around our coast at different times. We could tap that, too; when the surge of power comes in the early hours of the morning, we could use it to pump water up to the top of hills and downs and allow electricity to be generated for peak times.

The geographical position of these islands presents us with by far the best opportunity, and we should be taking it instead of throwing our money away at the nuclear power industry. Billions upon billions of pounds are being thrown at it—there was another £20 million this morning, just like that. There was also £93 billion for clearing things up, and uncountable billions to build nuclear power stations. In contrast, our investment in tidal energy and other marine energy is in sums of £60 million here and £50 million there. We have a huge opportunity that we are neglecting because of the conversion of both our main parties to supporting nuclear power for no rational reason.

We should look at our priorities again, as this is the way to solve our global warming problems, which we all agree it is important to do. We must look at the power of the tide. It will go on for ever. It is clean and does not produce a legacy of poisoned fuel, and it will add greatly to amenity features in the places where it is operated. The future should be tidal. It certainly should not be nuclear.


"Nuclear power is the other side of the nuclear bomb coin."

Once perhaps, in an age without climate change concerns, it is true that most early nuclear reactors were primarily designed to breed material for nuclear weapons. Producing power was a secondary aim.

This is not the case now. Many modern reactor designs are wholly unsuitable to producing material for nukes. The question is not about the motives of the nuclear industry in the past. It is about coming up with a credible way of drastically reducing CO2 emissions. I don't see why the wind turbine industry any more pious.

How do you propose to do this without using nuclear power at all? Have you looked at the scale of renewable production that would be required to produce all of the UK's electricity. Are you really saying that this is desirable as opposed to building more nuclear power stations? What about hydrogen production? This is something that the latest reactor designs are particularly well suited for.

That is not to say there shouldn't be any wind farms or other renewable sources but I think a lot of people have seriously under estimated how drastic the building of renewables would have to be just for the sake of not building more nuclear stations.

Paul Flynn

Thanks Huw and Patrick for those convincing contributions.

I am aware of the NPT which was the product of another age. My astonishment is at the seduction of both main parties by the persuasive power of the nuclear lobby.


It's incredible that a war that has only benefited missile and bomb manufactures has the support of half of the British nation.

The turmoil created, the Afghan , US,Canadian, and UK deaths, the increased poppy production and the total lack of any justifiable reason for any outside intervention.

As Huw pointed out , we are collectively far more concerned about expenses than the destruction of another nation and the resulting deaths.

The recent national newspaper polls are confirmation.


Paul, all signatories of the NPT have always been entitled to both development and use of civil nuclear power.
Iran is a signatory to the NPT and is entitled by the terms of it to develop and use civil nuclear power.
The US and its allies ignore the rights of others when it suits them and this new development will not ease the pressure or the threats against Iran for trying to exercise its rights one iota.


The invasion of Afghanistan was a gimme to the americans who wanted to lash out at someone/anyone for the horrendous crime inflicted upon them in 2001, a crime that cost appx three thousand lives.

The US decided that Bin Laden was responsible, whether or not they have any evidence for that is unknown.
They made demands of Afghanistan that its fledgling native government which while approaching the end of the civil war against the warlords, could not possibly meet.
Demands couched in terms that would have guaranteed rejection even if they could have been met.
No attempt at talks were made, no negotiations were entered into, not even the offer of having Bin Laden handed over to a neutral party was considered.
Hand over Bin Laden, the hero of Afghanistan who helped oust the soviet occupation to the US without any evidence or guarantees of fair trial or face invasion.
No country in the EU could have met those conditions, but Afghanistan was apparently supposed to.

After the decision was made to attack, the false reasons started being invented, the rights of women, bringing democracy, eliminating the poppy fields etc etc.

Afghanistan understandably had no friends and the UN stupidly, ignorantly, blindly not to mention disastrously gave the americans what they wanted.

That the UN did that not only led to disaster for Afghanistan but also gave the US the inch they needed to get to come to think they could take the mile of attacking Iraq.

Both are and were ignoble wars of aggression, they are a stain on every nation and every person who took part in them as well as all those who stood by and allowed them to happen, even including those who protested about them.

You protest fox hunting, tax increases, anti smoking legislation, you stand firm and solid against aggression or you are little better than the aggressors themselves and vastly less than you should be.

While we have complained about taxes and politicians expenses, people have been maimed and killed by us and our allies,
they have been kidnapped and tortured by our allies with little protest from us and without any positive action from us to prevent it from continuing.
The numbers are staggering and horrific, and the taxes we complain about help pay for them while the politicians whose expenses we complain about seek to continue on with their pointless and cruel decisions because on the whole, people in this country (and most other countries) really don't give a damn if people in other countries are suffering as a direct result of the decisions of our representatives.

To say that we have a moral duty to stay to fix problems we created is like a man who broke into your house killed some of your children and raped your wife, insisting on staying until everything is calm and peaceful. In a country with laws and police it would not be allowed, in a country with courts and judges he would quickly find himself incarcerated for the rest of his life but in the world that has neither it is apparently the right thing to do.

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