Pressing the nuclear button

I fear that if we had gone by the strictures of Eric Davidson (Southern, April 14) and taken no chances without an exit strategy we would never have left the security of our cave many thousands of years ago.

Danger is an essential part of life and largely represents what we are here for – car accidents kill thousands, but cars will not be abolished. We are here to get things done.

The problems in Japan are unrelated to anything we might build here, but even if they were related, we would have to proceed.

The availability of power is intimately related to the availability of food and just as important. The generation of power is a huge industry, though largely invisible to the layman.

I would recommend a trip down the new section of the A1, just south of its intersection with the M1, to see the back of Ferrybridge power station and the mountain of coal which sustains it. We must not tamper with this industry, but must protect it at all costs from being at the mercy of potential enemies. Renewables cannot work in the time available or at all.

If attempted we will end up with a huge distributed investment, sucking subsidy, generating little at the wrong time and demanding increasing maintenance with attendant costs and dangers.

We must install massive fission nuclear immediately, leading, with luck, to fusion towards the end of the century. This is something which could be the key to industrial and hi-tech growth in Scotland for the foreseeable future.

In the whole context, the issue of waste is unimportant. If the engineers are left free to deal with it, ways can be found for its destruction in new reactors.

The trouble is not the physics, but the protesters and the politicians.

The potential disaster is for agencies which do not understand the fundamental nature of what they are dealing with in the power industry to be permitted to delay and waste time after the fashion of those in the past who computed endlessly the number of angels who could dance on the head of a pin.

Robin Cross

Netherby House