From the Cambridge ivory tower to Whitehall


in Economics, Geek stuff, Politics, The environment

Apparently David MacKay, whose excellent book I reviewed before, has been appointed Chief Scientific Advisor of the Department of Energy and Climate Change in the United Kingdom and given a staff of 50. Apparently, he is advocating that the UK quadruple its nuclear energy capacity, as a stopgap between fossil fuels and the eventual dominance of renewables. Personally, I think it is encouraging that someone who committed so much personal energy to thinking about ways to get off fossil fuels has been given a mandate to help do so, in an official capacity.

My friend Mark let me know about this development.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

. November 8, 2009 at 7:30 pm

“Professor David Mackay: Britain ‘must go nuclear’ to control climate.” By Jonathan Leake:

. November 8, 2009 at 7:31 pm

Speaking last week on his first day as chief scientist at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, MacKay set out a vision of how Britain could generate the threefold increase in electricity it needs, with nuclear power at its heart.

He cited Sizewell B, Britain’s largest nuclear power station, as a benchmark.

“This plan would involve a fourfold increase in nuclear power over today’s levels,” he said. “So at Sizewell, for example, you would have four Sizewell Bs and at other nuclear sites you would have another four Sizewell Bs, and so on.”

He added: “Britain could never live on its own renewables. If the aim is to get off fossil fuels, we need nuclear power or solar power generated in other countries’ deserts, or both.”

R.K. November 9, 2009 at 11:26 am

Look how much trouble Finland is having with their Olkiluoto nuclear plant.

Is it really plausible for the UK to quadruple their reactor fleet size?

Mark November 9, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Britian just approved new nuclear build:

The government has announced 10 new sites for nuclear plants – and a new regime to speed up the approval of planning decisions.

Most are at the site of existing power stations, so maybe there won’t be much local opposition anyway.

Milan November 9, 2009 at 1:24 pm

It will be interesting to see how late and over-budget they end up being.

(If you want me to fix the above link and spelling, just let me know where the former was meant to point.)

. November 9, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Go-ahead for 10 nuclear stations

The government has approved 10 sites in England and Wales for new nuclear power stations, most of them in locations where there are already plants.

It has rejected only one proposed site – in Dungeness, Kent – as being unsuitable on environmental grounds.

A new planning commission will make decisions on the proposals “within a year” of receiving them, Energy Secretary Ed Miliband told MPs.

Nuclear was a “proven and reliable” energy source, he said.

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