The left has taken a very anti-nuclear stance on how to develop Britain's electricity supply going forward.
A lot of this comes from misconceptions about nuclear power. Typically when one mentions you're in favour of a new generation of nuclear power stations you're instantly met with some nonsense about 500,000 deaths thanks to Chernobyl.
Firstly that argument is a complete non-sequitur. Modern reactors, and even Britain's existing nuclear reactors cannot fail in such a manner as one of the reactors at Chernobyl did in 1986. 85% of France's electricity is generated by way of nuclear power, and they've had no major incidents, proving that it is a reliable and safe means of power.
Secondly, the statement is factually incorrect, the number of deaths directly resulting from the meltdown stands at 56. Mostly workers at the plant, clean-up personal and firefighters, although 9 of which were children who died from thyroid cancer. More people die on Britain's roads every week.
Statistically one would expect from the dosage of radiation that out of the 600,000 people around the fallout areas an additional 4,000 people, and 5,000 from the 6 million people in the nearby areas would have a reduced life expectency. About how many die on Britain's roads in 3 years.
The next thing they talk about is the nuclear waste being a health hazard for millions of years to come. This also is no longer relevant, in old power stations it is true that a by-product was nuclear materials with an extremely long half-life however these materials were deliberately produced to use in nuclear weapons. Modern reactors can re-process a lot more nuclear waste leaving much less unused, and what little is unused has a much shorter half-life.
Wind power is the big alternative in Britain, after all we do have a lot of breezy days. However to get realistic we would have to cover a colossal amount of space with wind turbines to be able to reliably make a significant contribution to the country's energy supply. The environment impact I would argue would be far greater than building a new generation of nuclear power stations.
We also need to look long-term, we may only need to use fission reactors for a few more decades to come, progress with fusion is steady but forthcoming and with additional funding faster progress could be made, is it worth digging up half the country and building wind turbines to power us for a few decades? When we could just build nuclear power stations on existing sites, and replace them with fusion reactors when the time comes.
Don't get me wrong, I think wind is a great idea for maybe 20-30% of the country's total energy supply, but I don't think it can be used as the base of the country's energy supply, a modern economy requires a rock solid electricity grid, with enough energy to meet demands, and that is not achievable with wind power. If anything the government should be accelerating its timetable for building new nuclear power stations.