Lesson to learn…

Your leader ‘Follow the French’ (Comment, September 29) implied we have technical lessons to learn from EDF nuclear.

Lesson to learn…

Your leader ‘Follow the French’ (Comment, September 29) implied we have technical lessons to learn from EDF nuclear. In fact, we invented steam power, we introduced the steam turbine and the first nuclear power station.

Your picture epitomises French inland sites — 90 per cent cooling towers, five per cent steam technology, five per cent nuclear — together with tepid cooling water creating low efficiency and vast quantities of wasted water. To be fair, the French have proved the success of bog standard consistent technology that has stood the test of time. Low technology but reliable, maximises efficiency.

The lessons we have to learn are political. Our power industry needs a permanent, politically neutral tsar and planned long-term programmes. Foreign ownership of utilities is a sure way of draining the economy — everyone pays, directly or indirectly.

The French will profit from our prime nuclear sites, sale of our nuclear electricity, and subsidised EDF wind farms (renewables obligation). Our sites are prime, including land and cold sea cooling water, maximising back-end efficiency with no water loss.

With our electrical industry without governance, we are being shafted left, right and centre. Finally, EDF will start undercutting other UK energy suppliers to gain market share.

Who knows what rich technical seams we will mine? Hopefully High Powered Laser Research (HiPER) near Oxford will unleash nuclear fusion to unlock the door to limitless energy ahead of rivals.

P H Field

St Albans, Herts

…from the Greens

Those who fear the UK might suffer electricity blackouts (Letters, passim) would do well to understand how this might come about.

In recent years the Green lobby has successfully blocked the inclusion of nuclear power in government energy policy. Thus, as recently as 2003, the government had no settled policy on this — despite increasing evidence that nuclear was cost-effective, even before the recent price increases.

Finally (thankfully) the government found the courage to adopt nuclear energy as part of its policy. But thanks to the long delay, resulting from Green lobbying and the long lead-time for nuclear stations, government now has no choice but to allow relatively dirty but quick-to-build coal-fired stations such as Kingsnorth.

The Greens now vigorously oppose these, while not recognising that their own anti-nuclear lobbying left government little choice. So it is effective lobbying by a really small group which has left the UK potentially vulnerable in this, the most basic of all commodities.

Terrorists could hardly have done a more effective job.

Dr A Kuhn

Stevenage, Herts