I REFER to the letter from Dr John Cameron headed “Nuclear should be back on the agenda” (December 24), in which he claims that the UK and Scottish governments “backed losers” by supporting renewables rather than natural gas and nuclear. He suggests the solution is to back gas turbines and a new generation of small nuclear modular reactors
To begin with, nuclear unfortunately has never been off the agenda – there are eight operational nuclear sites in the UK (two in Scotland), supplying 18.7 per cent of electricity as opposed to 40% through renewables.
The nuclear industry is in decline in Europe and renewables are expanding, with many offshore renewable projects completed and planned in UK waters.
Renewable energy is carbon-free whereas any type of nuclear leaves a mounting legacy of nuclear waste for which the UK has no solution – the current predictions are that the UK will produce 500 tonnes by 2050 and this will have to be stored safely for 300,000 years.
Small modular reactors (SMRs) are another attempt by the nuclear industry to reinvent itself by stating that it can reduce costs and mass-produce a new a new generation of reactors. These reactors will still require expensive security and will produce just the same nuclear waste as larger plants, requiring long-term storage in a GDF (Geological Disposal Facility) – no country in the world has a licensed site in operation to date.
SMRs still have problems relating to siting (few communities will want them), obtaining enough cooling water and escalating costs. The UK Government has provided a £210 million grant to a consortium headed by Rolls-Royce to research SMR technology with a projected start to electricity generation in the 2030s.
HANT (Highlands Against Nuclear Transport) has campaigned since 2013 by highlighting the risks involved in transporting nuclear waste from Dounreay to Sellafield by rail and sea. These risks will continue if SMRs ever see the light of day and HANT believes the Government investment would be better utilised to continue researching the untapped resources in wave and tidal power – safe and carbon-free.
HANT hopes that this new nuclear pipe dream will be stopped and urges the UK and Scottish governments to close existing nuclear power stations as soon as possible and increase renewable electricity production to meet climate change targets.
Tor Justad, Chairperson, Highlands Against Nuclear Transport, Strathpeffer.
STAY YOUNG, FIND A HOBBY
MARK Eadie’s column in which he extolled the virtue of having a hobby (“How the power of hobbies can bring happiness”, The Herald, December 28) was both interesting and entertaining.
Like him I have always thought that such pastimes as Rod Stewart’s trains or Tom Hanks’ typewriters were obviously a distraction from the stresses of their fame. However, Mr Eadie also made me reminisce about my own ventures into hobbies, or as I call it, “collecting”.
When I was young I would collect postcards from exotic places like Blackpool, Millport and Largs; that didn’t last too long. Stamps came along and for a while I was to be found every Saturday in Stanley Gibbons in Glasgow (girls put a stop to that one).
One day in the early 1980s I heard on my van radio that Dinky had gone out of business. I stopped at Tom’s Toyland on Glasgow’s Ayr Road and spent about £30 on old vehicles, a London bus, a taxi and more. These of course were far too good for my then car-mad seven-year-old to play with and led to about 10 years of picking up diecast toys wherever I could. I expect my grandson will eventually have the opportunity of keeping or selling them.
In the early 90s I had a spurt of collecting Classic Illustrated comics and have about 100 of them. They occasionally come out for perusal.
My longest-lasting phase has been the purchase of a 1959 Seeburg jukebox nearly 30 years ago which has led to the raiding of collectors fairs and charity shops and swaps with friends. I have about 5,000 7-inch single 45 rpm records.
Mr Eadie is right, find a hobby, it keeps you young.
Brendan J Keenan, Glasgow.
I’VE just renewed my car insurance with the same company, no increase on last year. I am worried, however that I am not covered for the two minutes between 23.59 on December 31 and 00.01 on January 1. Do I have to pull over. Surely it should be 24.00 on December 31and 00.00 on January 1, or are we numpties too ignorant to work this out?
Steve Barnet, Gargunnock.
WISDOM OF THE DUCHESS
ANDREW Neil is quoted in The Diary (December 29) as having a low opinion of the intellectual legacy left by Margaret, Duchess of Argyll. Yet I think she should be remembered for the words uttered in the course of an interview published in the Observer Magazine in the mid-seventies: “I spent the war years in the Dorchester: everyone did.”
Robin Dow, Rothesay.
HAVING CHUMS FOR TEA
FURTHER to the letters on the response given by exasperated mothers to the question “what’s for tea? (Letters, December 28 & 30), the prevalent one in Newhaven appeared to be “Chums and pump-handles”. I have absolutely no idea of its etymology.
Jane Ann Liston, St Andrews.
* CHRISTOPHER W Ide’s “stewed balloons and bananas” (December 30) is similar to my Irish wife’s “stewed bugs and onions”.
Eric Macdonald, Paisley.