Letter: Nuclear tragedy

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The Independent Culture
Sir: You report that Gerhard Schroder and the Greens are close to agreeing to shut down all 19 of Germany's nuclear power plants (report, 17 November). This is a tragedy for all of us.

One thing is certain; for the foreseeable future, they will be replaced by plant which burns fossil fuels and produces many tonnes of greenhouse gases. It is a tragedy brought about by the weakness of a politician trying to cling to office.

The Greens cannot have it both ways: until science and technology develop a practical third way of generating the amount of power which we use, and want to use, the only possibilities are fossil and nuclear. A choice has to be made.

Two points are put against nuclear: danger and cost. As to danger, we kill more than 3,000 people a year on the roads in the UK and injure many more - all for the convenience of having motor transport. What is the figure worldwide?

In all the 40 or more years that the world has had nuclear power, the number killed and injured is not a measurable fraction of that. All those were due to avoidable errors, not to any inherently insurmountable problems.

As to cost: what is the cost of nuclear power compared to the frightening cost of not stopping the growth in greenhouse gases?

S GRATWICK

Sevenoaks, Kent

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