This paper and commentary were first published in the Imperial Engineer, Issue Fifteen, Autumn 2011. The Imperial Engineer is the periodical magazine published for members of The City & Guilds and The Royal School of Mines Associations at Imperial College, London University, UK. This paper, together with discussion and our comments, is republished here with permission, March 2013. Copyright remains with authors Bill McAuley and Robin Grimes.

Editor's Note | Fukushima - by Bill McAuley and Robin Grimes
The Earthquake and its Immediate Aftermath  | Present Status | Root Causes | Then and Now
Health Scare Exaggerated | We Need Nuclear | 1000 Deaths | Editor's Postscript

We Need Nuclear
Says Ashley Callerall (Materials 52)

"The overriding responsibility of any government in the energy scene is to ensure security of supply of fuel and power to its community. This requirement takes precedence over all other considerations, including climate change. The social and economic consequences of a failure to do so are immediate, severe and widespread. As a result it has to take account of the political and technical situations existing at the prime sources overseas, particularly of oil and gas, which may he unstable and outside the control of the government.

To maximize security, therefore, it is prudent to have a mix of sources including coal, oil, gas, nuclear and renewables, so that if oil and gas supplies are interrupted, the wind doesn't blow, or the sun doesn't shine, some energy is available to the system.

The exceptionally severe tsunami in Japan, of magnitude 9 or so on the Richter scale, caused between 15,000 and 20,000 deaths according to reports, but media coverage has concentrated almost entirely on the incident surrounding the nuclear station at Fukushima. So far this has caused no deaths.

The reactor designs of Fukushima, the oldest nuclear station in Japan, were of 1960's vintage, and a long way from current designs. Moreover, there are around 50 nuclear power plants on some 17 sites in Japan, which were unaffected by the tsunami.

So let us keep a sense of proportion. The nuclear industry has a good safety record and does not deserve the vilification it receives. We need it."

Health Scare Exaggerated  Health Scare Exaggerated

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