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    Nuclear power is too expensive, whilst renewables are feasible and cost effective

    September 9, 2022 - Russell Leadbetter


      NUCLEAR is the worst possible way to back up wind power. Full Stop.

      Baseload – which Iain Macwhirter in his Herald on Sunday article “Nuclear is the worst possible option ... except for the others” (September 4) suggests is needed when the wind doesn’t blow – is an outdated concept.

      Renewables should not be described as intermittent – they are variable, which means their output can be forecast with good accuracy.

      Nuclear plants are on 24/7, so can’t balance the output from variable renewables, and would get in the way of their expansion, because they are inflexible.

      There are plenty of better ways of balancing the grid.

      We need a more flexible system with smart grids, time-of-use tariffs, batteries and storage including heat storage and hydrogen, made using surplus renewables power.

      A rapidly growing number of studies show that 100% renewable energy systems are not only feasible but also cost effective.

      And we are not just talking about wind.

      Solar would also be a central pillar, but other sources will include geothermal, tidal and wave power, all backed up with an ambitious energy efficiency programme.

      Nuclear power is too expensive. Building nuclear stations will put energy bills up. Electricity from offshore wind is currently about £37 per megawatt hour.

      If the UK Government goes ahead with Sizewell, in about 15 years its electricity would cost around £120 per megawatt hour.

      An added problem is that new nuclear stations take too long to build.

      The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that we have less than 10 years in which to make massive and unprecedented changes to global energy infrastructure to limit global warming to moderate levels.

      The UK Government first started consulting on building new nuclear power stations in May 2007, but Hinkley Point C is not expected to start generating electricity until around 2027.

      Pete Roche,


      The remorseless ticking of the clock

      I DO not know the intricate ins and outs of the nuclear-versus-renewables debate, unlike many of your more learned readers, but I do know that politicians are easily and worryingly distracted from the compelling need to address the climate emergency.

      It is not hard to see why they have lots of urgent issues in their in-trays at the moment, from the horrendous increases in energy bills and the cost-of-living, to dealing with Russian aggression in Ukraine.

      I see that Ms Truss has appointed a Tory MP to look for the fastest ways to reach the net zero target.

      We can only wish him the best of luck. But my fear is that making a decisive and global response to climate change remains something that will need even more of a co-ordinated global approach than we have seen so far, even after COP26.

      The clock is ticking remorselessly. Our grand-children and their children will face horrific problems if this generation continues to vary its level of interest in the issue.

      S McKenzie, Glasgow.

      The eagle, in Gaelic

      MARTIN Williams (“Where eagles dare to fly again as six more chicks are taken south”, September 8) states that Bennyellary is derived from “Earn, the old English name for an eagle”. Actually it is derived from the Gaelic word for an eagle – Iolaire.

      This word is usually pronounced something like “yellary” or “yollara” by native speakers. However, the English pronunciation has taken over for the ship, the Iolaire, which was wrecked near Stornoway on New Year’s Day 1919.

      Helen Ross, Bridge of Allan.

      Soroptimists in the picture

      THE members of Soroptimist International (SI) Glasgow City were delighted to see the image of Soroptimists entertaining Bridgeton Women’s Institute in May 1949 (“Concert party, 1949”, September 7).

      Soroptimists have been located in Glasgow for 95 years and continue to meet and work in Glasgow to enhance the lives of women and girls locally and internationally. The club meets fortnightly at Glasgow Caledonian University and online.

      A Glasgow -based project that has been supported by Glasgow Soroptimists since 2012 – both financially and offering support in kind – is Tomorrow’s Women Glasgow, an innovative and unique criminal justice centre based in the Gorbals.

      The multi-agency team work with women who have very complex needs and who are involved in the criminal justice system.

      We have recently offered to work with the new Simon Community’s Women’s Hub in Glasgow which is being developed to provide support and advice for women who are homeless.

      Soroptimist International clubs are throughout Scotland and worldwide all of whom celebrated the centenary of the organisation in 2021 by planting in excess of 125,000 trees worldwide.

      Bellahouston Park, Glasgow Green and Horatio’s Garden at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital all had trees donated and planted by Glasgow Soroptimists.

      Earlier this year the members donated funds to Ukrainian Soroptimists to aid in their work, since the Russian invasion, to support the local people. As well as active service, Soroptimists raise awareness and advocate on issues that affect women and girls, such as violence against women and human trafficking.

      Liz Jamieson, Secretary to SI Glasgow City, Glasgow.

      Abortion is a moral issue

      IN his report “Abortion ‘lottery’ claim as buffer zone summit ends” (August 30), Andrew Learmonth quotes Ms Gillian Mackay MSP as saying: “Abortion rights are human rights”.

      It should be noted that it is in the defence of human rights that some people peacefully and courageously choose to stand outside abortion clinics.

      Mr Learmonth also continues to quote her as saying: “Nobody should be intimidated or abused when accessing healthcare”.

      There are many healthcare issues connected with pregnancy.

      Abortion is not one.

      It is first and foremost a moral issue, which is why there is such sensitivity (or perhaps fuss) regarding “buffer zones”.

      Fr Peter McGarry,


      CREDIT: Russell Leadbetter


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