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July, 2008

 
   

At the time we were telling you we could also have told you that soon we would be saying 'We Told You So'.

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  There is something unwelcome and smug-sounding in saying we told you so. On the other hand we believe it can be a positive statement if it justifies that our reasoning was sound and it therefore makes our other analyses and predictions easier to trust. No one is infallible but we try to base our judgements on logical argument and highly probable outcomes based on precedent.
    An example of logic is when we when we said that the radioactivity from the accidental spillage of Plutonium dust on inhabited dry ground would remain dangerous for hundreds of thousands of years. We based that on a bit of scientific knowledge and a touch of maths. To us that is cast-iron but if we were wrong then anyone could convince us of the mistake by identifying our errors scientifically. Another example of evidential based comment is that we have argued that there is no established safe way of storing radioactive waste. This is evidenced in the press and engineering journals. That is not cast-iron but surely if we are incorrect then someone, somewhere, would point out that there is a proven strategy to do just that. Of course we could not accept the impotent murmurings of some quango but would expect some proof from suitably experienced, independent scientists and engineers.
    Incidences of highly probable outcomes abound even though they cannot be proved rigorously. For example who would deny that humans will make errors and hence hazardous environments will lead to dangerous consequences, sooner or later. This is probably why the word axiomatic was created. Heard about the Windscale disaster or Chernobyl or Three Mile Island? Who predicted the chaos at Heathrow's Terminal 5? We don't know but you can bet that a lot of people did and if we had we been sufficiently focussed we would have. Just as surely we say that the building of the extra runway will lead to increased environmental pollution even though the lobbying parties deny it. About a couple of years ago we predicted that government inspired IT projects would result in astronomical sums of money being wasted and there would be serious damage done organisationally. Think what has happened since then. We couldn't prove it until it happened, which it did and in fact proved to be worse than we guessed.
    The latter example is not suggesting that all IT projects are worthless but that the people who are trusted to control them (mainly our politicians and civil servants) are a liability. Of course it is not only IT projects that are disasters. These controllers of the countries' assets are so comprehensively disingenuous and incompetent (with a few exceptions) that they will cock-up nearly everything they touch. It's not just the Labour Party nor even Gordon Brown who are tarred with this brush but it is they who happen to be at the helm right now. The statement of intent on nuclear power by Gordon is an easy way out for him, not for us.
    We made other 'axiomatic' prognoses. We said without proof that his policy would disadvantage renewables and it is reported today that millions of pounds has been transferred from renewable energy projects to help nuclear clean up. Further, we predicted that the cost of decommissioning existing nuclear plants would escalate and at about 73 billion pounds that is up by about 16% on the previous year. Currently we hazard a guess that within two more years the sum will be about 100 billion. We have several times pointed out the immense potential of 'direct'* solar power, and in particular how this could be of benefit to Africa. Now we read that there are suggestions to use the strong sun of North Africa to generate electricity into a European grid. Our suggestion had in mind a much more extensive footprint and use a wider range of technologies which would benefit the African peoples extensively as well as solving a lot of problems globally.
    Finally, for now, we predict that if the future is to be nuclear there will be outcomes so pernicious that the damage will be unimaginable. On the other hand we believe that there is enormous potential for the development of renewables and that while wind and water feature well in the overall scope, direct sun power is vastly under appreciated. There is no need to develop nuclear power, indeed to do so will be disastrous.
* We accept that nearly all renewables are provided by solar power but those such as wind and water power are 'indirectly' derived from the sun.
     
   
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Originated: 18 December , 2007,  Last amended: 7 May, 2013