Wednesday, 31 October 2012

A few videos

Just to tide things over while I finish up work on my next piece, a few videos for your perusal.

The first is quite an interesting half hour look at the logistical operations that supported American operations in Vietnam. The scale is tremendous and it's quite entertaining and informative, if that sort of thing floats your boat;

Next, two videos about the A3SM sub launched Mistral SAM. The concept appears to have received something of a cold reception, as launching SAM's from a submarine is as good a way as any to give away your position, something submarines are not often inclined to do.

I think the concept is mainly designed to be a self defence mechanism, more of a last ditch weapon when a submarine suspects that it has already been detected and is about to come under attack. Still, someone at least must think it's a concept worth looking at and sub launched SAM's are not a totally novel concept.

Also, at least in the first video, keep an ear open for the stock comms messages, as it appears Neil Armstrong joined the French Submarine service at one point;

Finally, the BBC is reporting that Hitachi have announced a £700m deal to purchase Horizon Nuclear Power, with the stated goal of taking over and developing the UK's future nuclear power provision.

This is huge news as it represents (potentially, nothing concrete yet) a significant investment in the UK's nuclear infrastructure and could generate a significant number of jobs in a very specialised industry.

Nuclear power is - for me - a huge part of our energy sector going forward. Not only does it reduce carbon emissions after construction which keeps the green lobby happy, but it also helps to boost British energy independence, at least to some degree, which is a strategic priority for the UK (and really all nations) going forward.

This couldn't come a moment too soon thanks to pressure from the EU to comply with their heavy handed regulations regarding emissions which will force the closure of a number of coal fired power stations in the UK, despite the need for more and cheaper energy being a key factor in reducing the costs for British businesses in these tough economic times.

Hopefully this deal will see the introduction of the Hitachi-General Electric 'Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor' (ESBWR) into the UK. This design is not a revolutionary step forward for nuclear reactors, and indeed its efficiency is actually nothing out of the ordinary.

What makes it the perfect reactor for current UK needs is that it is designed to be a lot cheaper to build and operate than previous generations of reactors (which should reduce costs and thus bills/government subsidies) while also being incredibly safety conscious (or as safety conscious as you can be when you are deliberately initiating a nuclear reaction).

The system is designed to operate with reduced support and survive in the case of a failure to the primary cooling system for up to 72 hours with no human input or external electrical power, which is a marked upgrade over current designs.

Safety will be a big feature of future reactors in the UK after the Fukishima incident caused a lot of concern and led to Germany rather hastily deciding to abandon it's future nuclear energy capacity.

Proving to residents near these plants that reactors will be safe will be a key challenge, as will speeding up the planning process. I myself live about a mile as the crow flies from a now decommissioned site which housed a pair of the old Magnox reactors, and has since been earmarked as a suitable site for future nuclear reactors. I'm sure residents around here would be more open to the idea of nuclear power returning if they knew the new reactors were going to be designed with a high degree of safety built into them.

A bit of good news for a change!


  1. What no Wembley highlights!

  2. There were no highlights. Only low lights. Though a certain team did dominate on Monday Night Football quite handily. God bless you BBC red button.