Letter to the Editor: Nuclear Power

The study of English in classes all over Melbourne includes the ability to write persuasive pieces. Persuasive writing is tested in scholarship and SEAL exams, and through Outcome 3 and often Outcome 2 in VCE English. As an English tutor and mentor to gifted students in Melbourne I have developed with dozens of young minds the skills of identifying and exercising persuasive techniques, of conducting informed and critical research on an issue, and of understanding the forms and purposes of media texts. Below is an example of persuasive writing, just for fun.
To describe nuclear power as “carbon-emissions free” is misleading in the extreme. An informed position, as presented in the books of Dr Helen Caldicott, reveals the hidden carbon costs of nuclear power. Just as we know that a luscious hydroponic tomato can consume a hidden quantity of a third of a litre of oil, the construction, supply, storage and decommissioning costs of concrete nuclear power plants with respect to carbon dioxide emissions has been proven (Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen and Smith, 2005; Mudd & Diesendorf, 2007; and many more) to be equal to the costs of coal. Only lobbyists prefer to conceal these facts.

An equally repulsive and destructive analogy would be to remove the problem of methane-producing cows by replacing our cattle with human stocks. We cannot pretend that nuclear power is not repugnant, but to ignore that it is as polluting as coal because we can’t directly observe the chimney stacks is simply ignorant.

The “unfortunate”, near-eternal dangers of nuclear waste or meltdown aside, nuclear power is not carbon free. The so-called benefit would be greater energy production through an unsustainable option, but the environment inevitably suffers our greed and need.

2 Responses to "Letter to the Editor: Nuclear Power"

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