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Newcastle-under-Lyme Ford Figo, Chevrolet Beat or Maruti Ritz........? 'An environmental pressure group suggests that motorists should be forced to cut the number of miles they travel by 20%. This would be achieved by considerably increasing tax on petrol, trebling its price. At the same time, the number of air flights into out of the Uk should be frozen. Discuss whether these measures would be a better solution to solve the UK's energy problems than building nuclear power stations.' In your answer, compare social and private costs and benefits of the proposals.'- The number of road miles travelled within a country and flights into and out of it are strong indicators of how well its economy is faring. The more connected a country, both within itself and internationally, the stronger its economic prosperity.Business flights make up a fair share of flights into and out of the UK; to freeze incoming and outgoing flights may well harm the expansion of business, as the more businesses grow the more travel is likely to be required to promote the business or for sales trips etc. Therefore private costs of this measure may include potential loss of profit for business and also capped growth for the UK airline industry as it effectively cannot offer more flights/services to what will be over time a growing number of passengers. The social costs would be that some holiday-makers who want to either come to the UK or go abroad may not be able to due to the freeze on flight numbers.Emissions from motor transport in the UK are one emissions category which appears to be consistently growing over time. It is a very big contributor to overall emissions and it would be benficial to theoverall health of Uk society to see emissions from this source curbed. A large increase in petrol tax would achieve a reduction in congestion and likely encourage car-using commuters to use public transport; however punlic transport would need to have enough capacity to accomodate the extra passengers. For those dependent on motor transport (both businesses and individuals) such an increase in petrol tax would do them long term financial term damage given that they have few otehr options (ie road haulage firms etc) This would be both a social and private cost.A private benefit of such an increase in petrol tax would be the opportunity for developing more efficient vehicles and possibly more afforable hybrid cars since demand for fuel http://FuelSavingTab.com efficient cars would increase.Over the longer term, the introduction of incraesingly fuel http://FuelSavingTab.com efficient vehicles should benefit society as a whole, although the reduction in in emissions through fuel http://FuelSavingTab.com efficiency will likely be made up for by the constant increase in motor vehicle emissions over time (unless totally green vehicles are developed).Freezing flights in and out of the UK and increasing petrol tax may help curb emissions, but it will not do much to solve the UK's energy problems. It is evident that the UK population will continue to increase, as will its energy demand. Therefore what is needed (purely in terms of the energy resource) is a technically efficent resource which requires minimum resource input for maximum energy output. Nuclear power best provides this resource, although with carying costs and benefits to society and the private sector.Speaking of costs, the main cost associated with nuclear power generation is the intial outlay required to the power station. This will likely be millions of pounds, however with improvements in technology mean that nuclear power stations will have longer life stations - 40to60 years. This time span and the very small greenhouse emissions produced by nuclear power make it a relatively cheap form of elcetricity generation - using other forms of energy would lead to higher prices being paid by UK consumers.So there is the intial cost of building the plant (which could be private or social depending on whether it is from private funds or by the government, but there are other social costs. In the event of a nuclear meltdown, as with Cherobyl in 1986, the surrounding environment and its inhabitants would be contaminated with radioactive material, with potentiallu lethal effects. However, it is worth noting, in the case of Chernobyl, that the reactor was already known to be of extremely unsatisfactory design and it took hours of unauthorised testing by incompetent operators before it was taken to the where it exploded. It would be expected that any Uk built nuclear power station should be of quality build and that technology will hace improed from 1980's soviet Russia. Reactors are also equipped with many ways of shutting down within seconds.There is also the question of radioactive waste which nuclear power plants produce; it will be costly to dispose of and potetially cotaminate the environment in which it ends up. However a few cubic metres of radioactive waste produced yearly as opposed to the CO2, SO2 and other pollutants produced yearly by burning around 4milliontonnes of coal. Technologyhas also advanced so that it is possible to use depleted uranium as a fuel http://FuelSavingTab.com for creating nuclear energy using light wave reactors such as those developed by the firm Terra Power. This would save on the costs of having to dispose of nuclear waste as it would greatly reduce the amount of it. This technology is also relatively affordable compared to other energy options given the amount of energy produced over its lifetime.Nuclear power stations have already saved millions of tonnes of CO2 and S02 being releasedd into the atmosphere and would be a far better solution to sloving the UK's energy problems than effectively trebling petrol prices and freezing flight numbers into and out of the UK. The two latter solutions may curb emissions but they do not address the underlying energy problem. The development of nuclear power stations as well as more economically efficient measures to reduce transport pollution would be an ideal combination to minimise the costs to UK ( ultimately globalsociety) of energy consumption and the resulting


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