Friday, November 25, 2005

Nuclear Advocates

There's a letter in today's Press and Journal advocating nuclear power and dismissing wind power as unworkable. It particulary interested me today as I've been thinging about the whole issue quite a bit (as mentioned in the previous post). Before discussing the letter, I should point out that the Press and Journal's letters page is no stranger to opinions like these. In fact, letter's expressing similar views appear really rather frequently; pro-nuclear letters vastly outnumber anti-nuclear one's.

This one is here (it's the third letter down). It's written by a William Oxenham from Edinburgh. This is slightly odd because the Press and Journal (The Voice of the North) isn't really aimed at the good people of Edinburgh. Anyway, the letter is solidly pro-nuclear, calling Blair's decision to support new investment in nuclear power "eminently sensible". Mr Oxenham argues that wind power is "unreliable, unaffordable and ecologically damaging" and that the nuclear solution is the most friendly option for the environment. He also argues that nuclear power would be "immune to outside influence".

These arguments closely echo those of the government. Perhaps that's just because they are actually good arguments (except for the "immune to outside influence" one which is clearly, at best, an exaggeration). But I'm a cynical sod so I thought I'd see if I could find out more about Mr Oxenham.

The first thing I discovered was that Mr Oxenham had *exactly* the same letter published in yesterday's Herald, a Scottish national broadsheet. Word for word. The Press and Journal probably aren't aware of that fact but they do now have a comment on this feature on their website, so I pointed it out there. The nub:
Mr Oxenham is obviously very keen on sharing his pro-nuclear opinions with the rest of the country. I wonder is there is any particulary reason for this enthusiasm?
It is ever so slightly odd, don't you think?

I also found that Mr Oxenham had written to the Western Mail, a Welsh newpaper I believe, in March of this year (6th letter down). That letter is a slimmed down version but the arguments are basically the same. And I found this letter from December 2004, written in response to an article in Green Light, a magazine concerned with the environment. Again, very similar arguments are presented. Mr Oxenham really does appear to be very keen to share his opinions with the rest of the country.

There is, of course, no law against that. I just thought it was interesting.

Setting aside the issue of Mr Oxenham's letters, there is a wider point to be made. The pro-nuclear lobby is certainly a many tentacled beast. If you don't believe that those with a vested interest are orchestrating a subtle and not so subtle campaign to attempt to win public support for the nuclear option, then I'm afraid you're being naive. This irks me enormously and it makes approaching the issue with an open mind extremely difficult. But I'm still going to give it a go.

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