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How much choice do we have?

The World Wide Web adds colour to my thoughts. How quickly it tells me that Thomas Hobson owned a stable in Cambridge in the 17th Century! If a customer asked which of his many horses was available today, he was always told there was just one, take it or leave it. Well, the situation is the same today when we ask for an energy workhorse suitable for the post-carbon era. Discussion leads to the conclusion that nuclear energy is Hobson’s Choice: each of the other energy sources fails one of the requirements: it is too intermittent to be the mainstay of a stable electricity grid; it is not available on the scale of the nation’s energy needs; or it releases carbon into the atmosphere.

I presume that Thomas Hobson earned his reputation through arguments with stubborn customers. In considering nuclear power we should listen like them to the arguments and decide whether it is reasonable to walk away. Some may resist the conclusion clinging doggedly to a few facts that they have understood, otherwise relying on belief or quoting from an expert. Most people though admit their lack of knowledge and want to know more.

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