CLARK Cross (Letters, December 27), together with many admittedly more UK-oriented politicians, wishes to increase the number of nuclear power stations.

Has he really thought through the safety aspects of this? Does he, and do the politicians, really know? The world has, in reality, very few nuclear power stations. Yet how many have given rise to problems? I think it’s around 10 but that’s 10 too many.

Currently there are a number under threat in Ukraine, each with global consequences if they go seriously wrong. Their failures need not necessarily be natural disasters but man-made and every major nuclear issue is a global threat. I would also be incredibly surprised if there were no consequential deaths as a result of radiation in Japan, and the failures could easily have been much worse.

Oil industry installations are much less dangerous than nuclear installations and consequences of failure are local. In The UK they are built to the chances of failure being circa 1:10,000 during their design life. I’m unsure if nuclear installations are built to even higher standards but, in my opinion, they should be, if they are built at all.

1:10,000 can be a difficult concept when we live at best 100 years. For example, nuclear power stations tend to be built near the sea for cooling purposes. Those in Japan failed due to a tsunami, hardly a surprise in a known earthquake zone, and yet they weren’t adequately designed for this event. There has also been a tsunami in the North Sea in the last 10,000 years, which may be surprise to many in the UK. We don’t remember that far back.

Each large nuclear power station is a huge major project. Each will have its own construction, cost and technical issues. I doubt if there’s a single nuclear power station that runs to its design capacity. The early British magnox reactors had to run at reduced temperature due to corrosion issues that were unexpected. And there’s the waste, which will be an issue for years to come whilst we keep ourselves comfortable now.

In my considered opinion large nuclear power stations cannot be made safe enough. I am willing to give some consideration to the smaller standardised stations being promoted by Rolls-Royce, amongst others, and also fusion in the future, but would still need convincing.

We have plenty of renewable energy. We just need to store it better, whether this be hydrogen, batteries, pumped hydro stations, whatever. This will be much safer.
Angus MacEachran, Aberdeen

• AS with all religions, any manifestation – contradictory or confirming – is cited as a positive sign, and the religion of climate change, that now fills a gap in so many lives, is no different. Fire, famine, flood, drought, or earthquake are all confirmations of a belief.

A central dislike of something is also needed. In the climate religion this is now CO2. In earlier times it was a hole in the ozone layer but that was too obscure. Now it is a substance essential for life on Earth. Much more recognisable.
Malcolm Parkin, Kinross

Big thanks to Scottish Water

'TIS the season of goodwill. Permit me to send some to staff at Scottish Water.

On Christmas Day (early evening) we experienced a disruption of our domestic water supply. This situation could not be resolved until early this morning (December 27).

A phone call to Scottish Water resulted in the rapid delivery of emergency supplies of bottled water to ease the pain. I was kept fully informed on the ongoing status of system repairs.

I pay fulsome tribute to the reception staff at Scottish Water. Quite the most amiable, reliable and efficient workers ... a pleasure to deal with. They deserve recognition and thanks for a job well done.

Our breakdown in supply served to remind me of the sufferings being inflicted on the civilian population of the Ukraine. Our day of minimal inconvenience paled into insignificance when contemplating this barbarism.

I wish to acknowledge the sterling help delivered by Scottish Water staff and hope that they can now enjoy, without disruption, all the benefits of the festive season.
(Prof) Douglas Pitt, Newton Mearns

Fantasy island

FRODO AND I had a party yesterday to mark 50 years having passed since we killed the last Ork. In a way we miss not having dragons, hobgoblins and the legions of undead to battle with but since our allies the Elves and Dwarves have disappeared, we’d struggle to battle them on our own. After a few tankards of mead, we decided that we are fortunate to still have Kings and Princes and their God to protect us from the evils that surround us.
David J Crawford, Glasgow

Jammy shopper

IT was not the cheery couple engrossed in browsing for bargains which intrigued me ("Remember when... Boxing Day shoppers collared a bargain", The Herald, December 26), but the well-coiffured gent sporting an extra large dressing gown with a hint of pyjama bottoms thereunder. Perhaps he is intent on acquiring a full "rig-out" hence his failure to discard night apparel before leaving home.

The maxim of "early bird" success comes to mind.
Allan C Steele, Giffnock

Opening door to pandemonia

FORASMUCH as your heartfelt thank you made interesting and entertaining reading ("A heartfelt thank you to all our letter writers", The Herald, December 24), it had me fora-ging in my Chambers Dictionary, only to find that "fora" is indeed a plural of forum. My teeth grind when broadcasters talk of stadia. Please, let's stick to the more appealing-to-the-ear anglicised form of Latin words such as stadium, gymnasium, crematorium and forum.

The use of fora rather than forums suggests an element of superior knowledge on the part of the writer; much easier just to stick an "s" on to the end.
David Miller, Milngavie

Hooked on dancing

AS an old stager happy to defy gravity and with trotters raring to go at the sound of the right Country and Western, ragtime, dixieland, you get the drift, I give top marks to youngster Catriona Stewart, who advises that “the moral is not to dance like no one is watching, but to dance like everyone is watching and still not care – and, decisively, regardless of age" ("Wednesday dance has a message for everyone", The Herald, December 27 ).

But choose your partner carefully. At a wedding not so long ago in full boogie woogie routine I received a good swinging right to the old hooter from a lady dancing with equal abandon.
R Russell Smith, Largs


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