Sunday, 1 December 2013

UK: Nuclear Reactors, Faslane, Energy Cost and other issues

Most people, concerned with the realities of everyday life could be perhaps forgiven for not thinking about the big issues that affect the country. This is why we dedicate a considerable amount of time to talk about issues that might not be in everybody's minds.

As we know, the United Kingdom depends of several sources of energy including oil and gas from the North Sea, electricity bought in Europe and gas contracts with countries like Qatar. As population grows - population has grown dramatically driven by flood immigration and it is forecast that it will continue growing at fast pace as more people come from other EU countries and from outside the European Union to settle down in Britain - the country needs more and more energy that needs to be produced or acquired at higher costs.

At the moment Britain has a certain number of nuclear reactors most of which will have to be decommissioned in the next few years. The business of decommissioning nuclear reactors is extremely expensive and difficult and so is the construction of new nuclear reactors. Until now, only one reactor has been projected and would be built in Somerset and this by no means make us feel optimistic about the levels of energy supply in coming years.

Until now, the United Kingdom has benefitted from oil and gas exploration in several ways and this includes tax revenues generated by activities linked to oil and gas. Even the possibility of Scotland becoming independent generates serious doubts about how what is left of the United Kingdom will be able to deal with a sudden loss of energy supplies and sudden loss of tax revenues.

As if the aforementioned issues were not serious enough, there is another dimension of decisions being taken at this very minute and the following has to do with the capacity to maintain a nuclear deterrent and to be able to sustain a credible defensive structure as the country might no longer be able to create strategic military resources.

Should Scotland become independent, as Head of the Scottish Parliament Alex Salmond has stated that Scotland will no longer host nuclear submarines that make the nuclear deterrent possible and military naval installations in Faslane will no longer be available for what remains of the United Kingdom. The future of ship building and other Defense related industries is very much in doubt.

A fragmented and weakened United Kingdom will no longer be able to protect its strategic interests nor defend itself and this is a very worrying scenario indeed.

In 1982, the United Kingdom was a stronger country with a more homogenous population. Today, most of the strengths the United Kingdom had then have been lost. The country has been dismantled bit by bit, most of what is used or consumed in the United Kingdom is imported or is produced by  foreign companies and its Armed Forces are merely a shadow of a very glorious and optimistic past.

Having to increasingly depend on imports, will the United Kingdom be able to continue playing a pivotal role in strategic military arrangements? What we know does not offer us any reasons to be optimistic in terms of energy supplies and in terms of Britain's survival as a major player.

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