Nuclear energy

The British government has an energy problem. In fact, the whole country has one. Where is it going to come from in the future? The North Sea oil and gas bonanza is running out and most of Britain's nuclear power stations are entering old age (all but one of them is due to close in the next 15 years). The obvious answer, you might think, is greater use of renewable energy resources such as wind, water and sun. This is already happening. But most experts are of the opinion that these cannot possibly make up the projected shortfall in supply by themselves. More power stations need to be built. But the problem is that conventional gas and coal stations would cause an increase in the emission of atmospheric pollutants, at a time when the government is committed to reducing it - drastically.
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The British government has an energy problem. In fact, the whole country has one. Where is it going to come from in the future? The North Sea oil and gas bonanza is running out and most of Britain's nuclear power stations are entering old age (all but one of them is due to close in the next 15 years). The obvious answer, you might think, is greater use of renewable energy resources such as wind, water and sun. This is already happening. But most experts are of the opinion that these cannot possibly make up the projected shortfall in supply by themselves. More power stations need to be built. But the problem is that conventional gas and coal stations would cause an increase in the emission of atmospheric pollutants, at a time when the government is committed to reducing it - drastically. And so the prospect of nuclear power has raised its head again. Nuclear reactors were controversial in Britain from the very beginning and over time, as the problems of disposing of nuclear waste and the possibility of horrific accidents (such as that at Chernobyl) became clear, public opinion hardened against nuclear power in general, so no more reactors were built. The government is now advocating the commissioning of a new generation of nuclear power stations. However, the public have yet to won round - opinion polls so far show a clear majority against the idea. Nor is scientific and environmentalist opinion solidly behind the idea. Although nuclear reactors do not themselves produce atmospheric pollutants, mining the fuel they use and disposing of them and their waste products does. In addition, they are horrendously expensive to build. One eminent British climatologist has argued that Britain would more easily be able to cut its emissions of pollutants if it built new, polluting but much cheaper, gas and coal power stations instead, with all the money saved being used to institute greater energy efficiency measures. n bonanza: rijke vindplaats. to harden against: sterk gekant zijn tegen. horrendously: afgrijselijk. projected: geschat. shortfall: tekort. supply: voorraad. to win round: overtuigen, overhalen. English football stars and Football Association (FA) officials have already started preparing for the World Cup this summer. I don't mean they're in training or discussing selection or tactics on the field - what has been concerning them is the tactics of English supporters in the stadiums. They will, of course be German stadiums in German towns. Messages have been recorded and leaflets distributed urging the English fans to forget about things that happened sixty or more years ago. The FA wants to encourage respect for the tournament's hosts and hopes, for example, that the song which goes "There were ten German bombers in the sky", the next verse of which goes "The RAF from England shot one down" - yes, you will deduce that this song can continue for quite some time - will not be heard. It is probably too much to hope that the fans will not hum the tunes from films such as The Dambusters and The Great Escape, but the FA also hopes they will desist from the chant "Two World Wars and One World Cup" and from the song aimed at some other European teams which goes "If it wasn't for the English you'd be krauts". But the FA's efforts may be counterproductive. As was demonstrated all too well by Basil Fawlty, the constant warning "Don't mention the War" only has the effect of bringing it into the forefront of consciousness. So one must wonder which side the official England fan club is on regarding this matter. It is printing thousands of T-shirts with the message "Nur kein Wort vom Krieg". n The Dambusters: film uit 1954 waarbij in beeld wordt gebracht hoe Britse piloten op 16 mei 1943 twee dammen vernielden in het Ruhrgebied, het industriële hart van Duitsland. to desist from: afzien van. to encourage: stimuleren. leaflet: foldertje. The Great Escape: film uit 1963 die vertelt hoe 70 krijgsgevangenen ontsnappen uit een Duits kamp. Kraut: scheldnaam voor Duitser. Nur kein Wort vom Krieg: Duitse versie van "Don't mention the war", wat de bijzonder excentrieke en hatelijke hoteleigenaar Basil Fawlty zegt in de komische televisiereeks Fawlty Towers.