Thursday, July 27, 2006

Anyone have a Geiger counter?

The loons at Greenpeace have published this nuclear train timetable to scare us.

The problem is that it fascinates me. I want to see one!

Given the number of times I have hung around Ipswich station recently waiting for a train to London, I have probably seen several nuclear trains go past and not even realised. How annoying.


Anonymous said...

whered u get the name gendal world

Henry said...

I continue to be distressed that you post such ripe material for Design Patterns on your general blog.

You've almost certainly seen a nuclear train at some point, you just haven't been geeky enough to care -- they get about quite a bit.

The flasks themselves are the same as when the transport started in the seventies -- remember the fantastic promo where the strength of the flasks was demonstrated by crashing a train into one?

As ever, the Greenpeace view is somewhat bogus. There is indeed a risk associated with transport of fissile materials by rail, but two seconds of thought will convince you that travel by road or plane would be much worse. So, let's drill down to the actual threats exhibited:

1. Rail crash. Unlikely owing to timetabling considerations; unlikely to affect the integrity of the flask if it were to happen - strong flask with lots of barrier vehiclage.

2. Theft. Very unlikely - the flasks are somewhat heavy and are craned off at their destination. You'd need a very good site from which to mount an attack. Suspect also the flasks have some sort of tracking mechanisms(!).

3. Attack. It's what Greenpeace seem to be saying, but I just don't buy it... OK, easier to stand at the side of the track near Tring and fire your RPG than outside Sizewell, but without some sort of dispersal mechanism you're not going to achieve very much. The flasks don't contain very much material, and creating a hole into the flask's side seems unlikely to release much of what little there is. All-round easier to obtain a load of hospital low-grade waste and dump it in a reservoir.

I suppose I understand why Greenpeace use every opportunity to try and make us build wind turbines on every street corner; I just wish they'd do a bit more at the realistic, worthwhile but unsexy end(proper incentives for home solar heating systems, arguing for closure or upgrades for most polluting fossil stations, free bikes, etc, etc) rather than continue to peddle their arbitrary and illogical Daily Mail nuclear-power-scary view.

Henry said...

Bothered to look it up -- it was in 1985:

Richard Brown said...

Excellent link... thanks :-)

I think the problem with Greenpeace is that the political left have captured the green agenda (or vice versa). Either way, it means the environmental movement is populated almost entirely with anti-business, anti-economics statist thinking.

I had been sceptical of Cameron's repositioning but if it encourages those on the economic right to engage more fully then it may have a positive effect.