Nuclear power – but only for Iran

The Prime Minister today is proposing to help Iran build civil nuclear power stations to tackle global warming.

I wonder how he will find the money to do that, given the tightness of budgets? I also wonder why he thinks the the way to tackle global warming is to build nuclear power stations in the Middle East, when he could build them here at home instead.

He has told us – just as his predecessor did – that he wants a big debate on nuclear power before we have any more of it. Is that debate now over, as I must have missed it? When will we see them building new ones here, if he is so keen on them?

This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. jim
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    I find it extremely hard to fathom the psychology of Brown. He doesn’t seem to get the national interest at all. There is a very real possibility that we will experience power shortages within a year or two. Yet he seems to spend all his time trying to micromanage ordinary people, whilst ignoring the country’s needs. If he is an agent for a foreign power then he is doing a cracking job.

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 17, 2009 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      Yes you almost feel like giving up trying to work him out.

      The problem is Mr Brown is very keen on helping out as much as he can on the World stage, but he has no money at home to do it. But this does not seem to bother him.

      Just wait, we will be shoving in loads of money to support the Euro next.

      On the subject of nuclear power.
      Its not the complete answer, remember that it produces waste which has to be stored (not at the bottom of the ocean) this kind of toxic debt will still be around in millions of years, and we are already the dumping ground for many of the worlds countries.

      We live in one of the smallest (by land mass) and most densly populated countries in the world, but we hold, and I guess will take even more, nuclear toxic waste to treat and store.
      Sort of doesnt really make sense does it !!!!!

      We will all be little green giants (a contadiction I know) in a few decades if we are not careful.

      • Neil Craig
        Posted March 17, 2009 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        The stuff about nuclear waste lasting millions of years is simply a deliberate fabrication by the “Green” movement. The MSM & the BBC in particular have lied to us for decades to the extent that most people don’t know the truth but the fact is:

        “Q. What about nuclear waste?

        A. The waste consists of the fission products. They are highly radioactive at first, but the most radioactive isotopes decay the fastest. (That’s what being most radioactive amounts to). About one cubic meter of waste per year is generated by a power plant. It needs to be kept away from people. After 10 years, the fission products are 1,000 times less radioactive, and after 500 years, the fission products will be less radioactive than the uranium ore they are originally derived from. The cubic meter estimate assumes reprocessing, unfortunately not being done in the U.S.”

        Professor John McCarthy, one of the world’s best informed inhabitants has put up this & other nuclear FAQs which anybody speaking on the subject should read & nobody among the eco-fascists does.

        • alan jutson
          Posted March 17, 2009 at 3:12 pm | Permalink


          Not aware of the exact timescale of nuclear waste being toxic, as I am not an expert in the subject.
          So forgive me if I have got it wrong.
          But on many interviews, articles in the media, radio and Tv the consensus of opinion is that nuclear waste is toxic for many millions of years.

          If the facts are different, then I think I can guarantee that this Government will publish the argument in favour of non toxic waste should it wish to proceed.

          My only other comment, why do other Countries send it to us from all over the world to process and store, at one assumes great expense, if it is no problem.
          Are we at the cutting edge of processing here ???.

        • Alan Wheatley
          Posted March 17, 2009 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

          Neil, thanks for the link – most interesting.

        • jim
          Posted March 18, 2009 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

          I’ve invested in uranium miners in the past, but I’m not in love with it. I live in hope that we can find alternatives, no energy source is completely clean though. Interestingly a researcher found a fungus in Patagonia that converts vegetable cellulose into biodiesel. Here’s the link
          Live in hope!

  2. Ian Jones
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    I think the Iranians are quite capable of doing it themselves! Gordon just wishes he was in charge of the British Empire at its height instead of a medium sized country which seems to have run out of money…..

  3. Colin D.
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    At long last, nuclear power is seen as a common sense power generation strategy. Brown seems enthusiastic but he is the man who sold off our home grown nuclear industry – Westinghouse – to Toshiba. Now we must buy from abroad, pay royalties to foreign companies and build up their nuclear generation industries.
    Perhaps by focussing on nuclear power in Iran he hopes we will not see who is wearing the dunce’s hat at home.
    Who is going to hold Brown to account for yet another stupid decision that belongs entirely to him?

      Posted March 17, 2009 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      “Who is going to hold Brown to account for yet another stupid decision that belongs entirely to him?”

      Colin – it would be a good start if the supine press corps attending the PM’s monthly Downing Street gathering asked questions with teeth and showed some irritability at the constant non-replies.

      These journos represent their viewers and readers but seem more interested in maintaining good relations with No 10 than in reflecting our concerns and anger.

      To interfere with Iran’s program is like fixing your neighbour’s roof at your own expense when your wife is complaining that your own bedroom ceiling is collapsing from the flooded tank in the loft!

      • mikestallard
        Posted March 17, 2009 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        For the past 6 weeks, I have been completely deprived of any English Media except for the internet.
        Do you know what? I haven’t missed it.
        When I came back yesterday, we turned on the News. Guess what? Nothing but a repeat of the story of that Austrian pervert for nearly half an hour!
        For EU news, for taxation news, for the desperate state of the economy, for what the two main parties are thinking, you cannot beat the blogosphere. It is in touch and frank in a way that the media simply are not.
        So – well said!

  4. Iain
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    So the Prime Minister is proposing to help Iran build nuclear power stations. With what skills may I ask? After Gordon Brown flogged off Westinghouse to Toshiba he had to go cap in hand to the French to beg them to build nuclear power stations here.

    We used to be a country that had the skills to build nuclear power stations, but not any more, in the malaise and decadence that is prevalent in the British establishment these are skills they have let go to rot, or flogged off, in the case of nuclear power both, and for Gordon Brown to not realise that shows how deluded he is!

  5. Stuart Fairney
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    A serious question, is “help Iran build the power stations” actually code for supply the fuel rods?

  6. Neil Craig
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Blair first reversed himself saying we need nuclear in a speech to the CBI 16/5/06.

    Since a nuclear power station can, according to Westinghouse, be built in 3.5 years we could now have been within a few months of knowing we could keep the lights on.

    Instead the ONLY real progress is that the French have bought our nuclear sites – a requirement simply because it is politically less brave to say that a new reactor be built on a site used for 40 years than on a new one rather than for any engineering purpose.

    Meanwhile our surviving reactors are fewer & older & the 2015 EU emission rules which will close many of our coal powered generators is 3 years closer & China’s economy, built on electricity 1/3rd the cost of ours is over 30% bigger.

    And the excess winter deaths because of fuel poverty over 3 years total 72,000.

  7. Chris Shaw
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    When global warming really takes hold, which it inevitably will, areas of the Middle East will become uninhabitable; the ideal spot to build nuclear power stations. Along with these countries, Europe should be planning for this eventuality as the oil in the Middle East runs out. I should have thought that this was a wise investment move. Particularly so, since most of the current occupants of the Middle East, Indian sub continent and Equatorial regions will be keen to move closer to the Arctic circle!

    Yes, we need a debate on nuclear power, but we also need to start building them pretty quickly.

  8. chris southern
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    From what i understand of the situation, Mr Brown is willing to put us further in debt (by paying for the building of nuclear power sations,) as longs as the Iranian goverment agrees to drop it’s nuclear armament program!

    Has he not thought that they are already working on BOTH of these programs themselves!
    The tax payers of the UK should not have to fund the world, if he realy wanted to help countries develop beyond third world status he would be trying to get people to help with the TRAINING and EDUCATION of those populations. That gives those people a future and shows them that the west isn’t trying to buy their goverments.
    Threats and bribes do not buy peace, they only buy a ceasfire as was the case in the last centuary.

  9. Dan Tubb
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    I consider myself interested in current affairs, but I really have lost track of how many countries Brown has promised to send money to this last 7 days.

    I know he wants to bail out E.Europe. Then there is more aid to China and Africa, and now Iran. Plus boost finance at the IMF.

    Does the concept of repaying all this money he is borrowing not ever occur to him?

  10. Tim Marshall
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Stuart; No – the idea is to give Iran uranium enriched to the extent
    that it can be used only for peaceful purposes. By doing that Iran would have no excuse to build more centrifuges which can be used to spin uranium to the extent it becomes weapons grade
    material. Not saying if its a good idea or not – but I think that’s the strategy.

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted March 19, 2009 at 6:53 am | Permalink

      Won’t Iran just argue that in order to guarantee the security of its energy supply, it needs its own centrifuges because otherwise the supply could simply be cut off by a potentially hostile government and only a fool*, would agree to that?

      Thus they will continue to enrich and Gordo’s ‘super-save-the-world’ plan is obviously a dead letter

      As for the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, this is also farcical because in the immediate area, the Israelis aren’t signatories, a fact which surely won’t have escaped the Iranians attention, neither are Pakistan or India. The North Koreans were signatories, but clearly thought “to hell with it” and they now have nukes, so the threat of UN sanctions is empty, especially when they are already subject to some anyway.

      There is a solution, which I believe the US are blocking. Help them refine, not uranium, but OIL. Hard though this is to believe, due to sanctions, they can’t refine enough oil, even for their own needs (Petrol was recently rationed can you believe). Help them refine oil and gas, and the nuke stuff could be quietly mothballed as a trade off.

      (*whoops Russian gas to Britain)

  11. Neil Craig
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    much of the confusion is that when plutonium has been diluted by the formation of the radioactive actinides which are the real waste, it is removed from the reactor. There is nonetheless a lot of plutonium left & it does remain dangerously radioactive for millions of years. However plutonium is most definitely not waste – it is something to be purified of the real waste & used again.

    You are right about what we get as the consensus on TV & in print. Regretably our media lie – on this, on global warming, on the Yugoslav wars & I am sure on many subjects on which I don’t know enough to tell. As John has pointed out repeatedly the chances of getting a fair crack on the BBC if you are say that the free market has demonstrably produced wealth better than government control is also slight since that, while factual, also disagrees with their “consensus”.

    Part of the reason the rest of the world wants us to process stuff is indeed that we are still world leaders in high tech engineering. To be fair a lot of the reason is also that they have their own eco-nuts to placate.

  12. mikestallard
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    I bought a book called “Confessions of an economic hit man” by John Perkins, (2005) to read on the plane home.
    He worked for MAIN – an American agency, where he was a partner int he 1970s.
    The idea was that you made a huge economic plan and then offered it to a target country. They accepted it (often because the minister was (persuaded -ed)or scared). It all looked like a generous act by, in this case, the American Government.
    Actually, all the money went to American companies, which ploughed it all back into the World Banks which, he says, were American owned. A few families got very rich, meanwhile the people were reduced to slavery and poverty.
    It looked like generosity…. Actually it meant the enslavement of debt at no cost to the American economy.

    He also makes the astonishing claim that in 1986, IPS and Bechtel began construction of power plants that used highly innovative technologies for burning waste coal without producing acid rain. By the end of the decade, these two had revolutionised the utility industry.
    Meanwhile, he says, that the balance was also beginning to shift away from the idea that nuclear power was safe. Back up systems, training of operators, human tendency to make mistakes, equipment fatigue and the inadequacy of nuclear waste disposal made him uncomfortable. He set up IPS and was President for several years in the 1980s.
    Since Mrs Thatcher, here, we do not seem to have had much advance on this position – if any at all.

    Like Johannesburg, we too will be living in darkness without electricity pretty soon too.

  13. TCD
    Posted March 18, 2009 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Has the Conservative Party got a clear strategy on building
    new nuclear power stations? Security of energy supply is clearly
    one of the essential prerequisites for a recovery of the economy.

  14. Tim Marshall. London
    Posted March 19, 2009 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Stuart. Your arguement is persuasive

  15. Bazman
    Posted March 20, 2009 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    This has little to do with global warming or security of energy supplies. At least Iran’s. Iran floats on a sea of oil and gas as well as coal. They do not need nuclear power by any stretch of the imagination. Their nuclear programmes could be stopped in their tracks by freezing their world financial dealings, most of which are carried out in America. Iran would then just cease to produce oil which as one of the largest producers cannot happen as America’s Military machine would grind to a halt in days. They are being helped to build the nuclear facilities so we know what they are up to. They will build one anyway with ‘off the shelf’ equipment which thanks to advances in engineering now exists.
    The danger then being Israel, which increasingly sees itself a ‘one bomb state’ as in a state that can be eradicated by one nuclear weapon, will carry out a unilateral pre-emptive and possibly nuclear strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page