POWER: Carbon-free is the future

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The historic involvement of the north bank of the Tyne was given in a photograph of Carville Power Station (News Guardian, May 5), a prominent site for generating our electricity from 1904 for some years.

It also shows ranks of soldiers on duty to provide labour during the 1926 general strike, a political event of that time.

The Tyne was a world leader then in energy.

Politics are all too evident in the UK’s needs for future electricity supplies, such politics going world wide, as far as China.

A letter by John Simnett considered future nuclear power stations. I happen to know John Simnett well enough to be associated with his efforts to educate us all on energy.

His projects include very small wind turbines with batteries, as previously reported in the News Guardian, but we try to contribute to the subject of energy by any means appropriate to a country, or indeed a small community.

The all-too-well-known Chernobyl event, involving an explosion releasing clouds of radioactive materials, was bad enough, but it has now been seen that the steady release of carbon dioxide and other toxic emissions is greater and more widely spread than that and subsequent incidents.

The burning of coal and any sort of carbon-based fuel must be discontinued, the sooner the better.

The initial cost of any major power plant is a problem, as well demonstrated by the UK’s intended Hinkley Point ‘C’ nuclear station, which will be 3,200 megawatts, a major contribution to the UK’s future needs. The repeatedly put off start date involves £18bn for initial costs, and counting.

The result (in time) will be a carbon-free supply, available for base all-year requirements, subject to a yearly maintenance.

In the meantime we need to get through a few winters.

I have supported John Simnett’s views that a better policy is to invest in much smaller ‘modular’ nuclear reactors, repeatable in design and constructed quickly.

Such remains the subject of international and UK political consideration.

AM Johnson

North Tyneside