Thorium type nuclear should have been developed years ago

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The News Guardian letters of October 25 and 31 concerning the use of new ‘fracking’, and the equally doubtful process of underground/undersea coal gasification, needed a bit of study, due to the diverse views stated, (the nuclear argument is clearer to me).

There is an ideal view, versus the practical.

As someone who worked for many years in energy, at a low level, I was innocently involved in producing a lot of pollution, the carbon dioxide issue being relatively only recent.

Though now in a very small minority, the climate change deniers believe that whatever resources come our way they must be used to deal with our present difficulties. These deniers are incorrect in my view, and (largely) the carbon is ‘not’ captured, as hoped.

The production of any fuel-gas, by fracking, UCG, oil field or refinery by-products, only ends up being ‘burned’, resulting is CO2 and other even worse emissions.

Though as concerned as anyone on how we will get through the next few years for gas, and above all electricity, if large-medium amounts of UK gas were found, replacing imports from unreliable suppliers, its value is only seen when it is burned.

The aim is not to use any carbon based fuels, fossil or newly grown, even refuse wastes. The UK has treaty obligations, requiring the use of these for as short a time as possible.

A local enterprise has a coastal-sea project to carry out an advanced UCG gas production facility using the UK North Sea coal deposits, still billions of tonnes.

This will be with a drilling procedure and injection of fluids including steam and air, or even pure oxygen. I therefore do not see much difference between the effects of any such drilling process, and find the statement of Mr Phillifent perverse in this respect.

If any, process was to produce a low calorific value gas, usually called a ‘lean’ gas, it is still very useful, either used as it is, or for public use with enrichment to what is now our mains gas.

If the local UCG enterprise has invested a method which will save all our worlds, no one would be more interested than myself, and others I know, but gas is still gas.

As a slightly idealist-greenish-selfish ‘older’ person, I do not accept Mr Phillifent’s interpretations of recent history, and offer the following.

The Tyne imports over 4.5 million tonnes of coal per year, and is not the only such port.

The undoubted hazards of deep-mined coal are thankfully no longer in ‘our’ backyard, but our moral position is not too high.

I do not wish to see long term fracking, UCG, or anything similar in anyone’s back yard.

The Hinkley ‘C’ Nuclear power station has been around for some years, and 3,200 megawatts is an impressive project, as I told some officials of EDF who were good enough to listen to me then.

I now believe this otherwise excellent project is not affordable to build, or to be viable for costs of the energy contracted by this government.

Thorium type nuclear, of all sizes, should have been developed years ago, and is still possible.

A M Johnson