Page 1




UnDERCURREHTS Ilumber nine




EDDIES: Heathrow Was There a Nuclear Threat? ..................................... 1 Eddie Currents ..................................................................... 3 De-BunkingtheBunkers .............................................................. 5 Bariloche: Limits to Growth, Latin Style .................... .t... ........................ 6 Gusher's F r i g g i n T o n t h e R i g s......................................................... 8 Letters .............................................................................. 9 ~ n d e r c u r r e n t s / ~ I Product D Review: solar collector ......................................11 Nature e t Progres: report and pictures ................................................. .13 NUCLEAR POWER: 16 Page Special Feature ........................................ 17-32 HudsonReport:reflections ............................................................ 33 Home Food Production: can it slash Britain's import bill? 35 REVIEWS: Offensive Missiles/ We shall not b e MIRVed/ Race & IQ/ Value Today/ Limits of the ~ i t y / ~ a k i nIt/' Fields, Factories &Workshops.. 41-45

............................... ...

'Wot's this ?", you may well b e thinking. "Advertising? In Undercurrents?" You may well feel we owe you an explanation. Here it is. Until recently, we've rejected display advertising because we felt that anything worth saying t o our r e a d e r s could b e said in a small ad. We also felt we didn't want t o give a platform in our magazine t o organisations we either disapproved of o r w e r e indifferent to, just because they could pay for space. And we didn't want t o become dependent on advertising revenue t o the extent that it might affect our ability t o publish if it w e r e withdrawn. What's more, we didn't want to run the r i s k of being accused ( however unfairly) of tailoring our editorial policy t o suit our advertising market. What we hadn't envisaged was a situation where we might want t o give more than small-ad space t o announcements of products o r services which the majority of our r e a d e r s would b e keenly interested in. But this, with the emergence of dozens of "AT" products on the m y k e t over the past year, is exactly what's happened. If our r e a d e r s , and our potential r e a d e r s , can't read about such oroducts and services in UNDERCURRENTS, then they will find another magazine which gives them the information they want without setting i t in the radical social and political context which, we believe, is vital if "alternative technology1' is ever t o help build a better society. Of course, we still woh't allow advertisers t o take up valuable space in the magazine unless we feel they have something interesting t o say, and we'll refuse t o accept any ads which we feel a r e misleading, or a r e a waste of space. As a deterrent, we'll b e charging m o r e per column inch a s space increases, not l e s s ( most magazines d o the opposite). And we've set an upper limit of one page per ad. Moreover, we're moving on t o t h e offensive in tackling the proliferation of AT hardware by starting a Product Reviews section. In each issue, we'll analyse a particular product in detail, pointing out its disadvantages, i t s advantages, and t h e value f o r money i t represents. We also hope t o probe the methods and motives of the companies producing these various devices. In each i s s u e t h e r e will a l s o b e a Directory section giving names and addresses of manufacturers, and eventually, a brief "potted" review of their products. And f o r those who prefer t o r o l l their own instead of buying off-the-shelf devices , we'll have a regular DIY Project section To avoid becoming dependent on ad. revenue, we will s e t the cover price s o that it pays completely for at least 48 pages of editorial content i n each issue. If t h e r e a r e m o r e than 4 pages of advertising in any issue, we will add a total of eight pages t o the magazine's size. So advertising, while not subsidising the basic magazine, will help t o make it bigger ( assuming we get any, of course). We also undertake t o investigate any complaints from r e a d e r s who feel thay have been misled by any ad. in Undercurrents and, if the complaint i s justified, t o have the advertisement corrected o r withdrawn.



Undercurrents is designed and edited by Sally and Godfrey Boyle. Pat Coyne edited the Nuclear Power section. Tony Durham and Martin Ince handled the reviews, and Martin Ince and Barbara Kern put t h e ads ( and who knows what else) together. P e t e r Harper s e z he's going t o Australia but nobody believes it yet, and Chris Hutton Squire s a y s he's going t o get u s organised but nobody believes that either. Jenny and Janet did some of the setting, the r e s t being hacked out on the UC Executive. Richard Elen produced sounds and drew nice pictures. Brian Dax screened the Pics, and Brian i b r d helped with the subs. Thanks t o Nigel and Mary and the Finchley Road folk for handling the l e t t e r s and answering the phone. We owe our continuing existence to a very l a r g e number of people: they include Graham Andrews, Charlie Clutterbuck, Duncan Campbell, Oliver Caldecott, Sooty Eleftheriou, Gerry Foley, Dave Elliott, Lyn Gambles, David Gardiner, Herbie Girardet, Ian Hogan, Cliff Harper, Roger Hall, Satish Kumar, John Prudhoe, Kit Pedler, Lois & Suki Pryce, Ted Poulter, P a t Pringle, Chris Ryan, P a t Rivers, Ant Stoll, Liz Short, P e t e r Sommer,. Dieter Pevsner, Pete Stellon, Stefan Watsisname, the Terrible Taylor Brothers, Ray Shannon, John Shore John Wood, Geoff Watts, and all the other people we've forgotten t o

Undercurrents is published every two months ( well, almost) by Undercurrents Limited, a democratic, non-profit company, without s h a r e capital and Limited by Guarantee. Telephone 01 794 2750. Printed by Graham Andrews Web Offset, Reading. The copyright (c) of all articles in Undercurrents belongs t o Undercurrents Limited, unless otherwise stated. Material in Undercurrents must not b e reproduced without the permission of the publishers, but we intend t o give permission t o non-profit groups to use such material, without charge, provided they credit Undercurrents.

If you're interested in helping on Undercurrents in any way, you might like t o come along t o one of our weekly meetings. Space is limited, but ring 01 794 2750 for details of when the meetings a r e held, and where (Applications from members of the Special Branch should b e in writing). Give u s notice, and you'll b e welcome to come and meet the odd bunch who run the show a t the moment: but be warned, you may find yourself


NF-iUVRCS s there an atomic threat? had been smuggled into Eur

dministers the Duren de

John atomic shells.

use of tanks and armowed

of an unspecified terrorist

rab terrorist armed with a tanks, the Army had to use der-fired missile needs "whatever vehicles were

There i s little doubt that w

any one of which could

UNDERCURRENTS 9 under heavy guard on ," (Sunday Times, Jan 1 more than airports wer Ived: according to vario reports, military gua immediately deployed Belgian/Dutch and Belgian German frontier., The F r "Anti-Commando Brigade ( was mobilised and on A report in Canida (ace Times, Jan 7th) said that Britain's A i r Defence system was alerted ( January 4th, due to fears of 2

's bomb' hav

ion for the military coup e r e luridly speculating at time. This story just doesn't fit either; far too manv things

is necessary to select a get which is vital to the 'enemv' country's economv and will therefore be a real threat.

lace at the right time and speed so, the neutron reflector around it must be intact. The Heathrow military de~lovmont

sal theory to be plausible, well be that which you wish is some evidence, indeed, win over. But an airport is

rs Revolutionary Party stration through central

(2) The entire transport system went off, no airliner was attackaround a major airport is geared ed, and no radical

the terrorists' accomplice psychological to

, and may have a (airborne) rocket attack, For some reason, the al was stevved un during and


was certainly une likely as far as those Heathrow manoeuvres were concerned.. ugh the 'continuing may be a different e you're on to a good



a threat to a major Europe airport. Although threats f r the usual Arab terrorist/Eur


ater though no-one, apparenty, was brought to trial, B en it would have been im

so-called 'moderates' to the theft; and to do so

my patrolled its Be the theft of some weapon or from the Duren base Boxing Days The theft

It also seems

SAM-7, being f

such a almost

's Scientists YOU!

D THE war? Well, ow s "our chance to do

ce Establishment at n Down desoerately

ators (tear gases to you

e organ c waste, a

er fully met. They s , particularly the

he beautiful W

974) he nrooos

he fields with shit for ten

ookmgs are being tak ow, so just send a10 ur form S38/74.


J 3

- ---

age of 1 8 m ompany you u ramble ove "spoilt countrysi are a thought for t , and Idmiston0 n l v e s t i v heen

on were soon able to dia alls for themselves, curious coincidence, International. Subscri ing) facilities were br

Now don't lean to conclusion any hasn't invent roved comnost he , he proposes tha a s e should be pumped in an underground cavity and blown unwith a thermonuclear bomb. The waste would be almost 1

tailed from Britain's tale-

ectly to South Africa Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore and Israel ges are as nigh ound a minute for the areasa This move duces still further the amount me at the various

tne Christmas period coul been crippling, because of vast a holiday-time wor to maintain servi was ready and wai any strc

UNDERCURRENTS 9 e myth than cylinders which form the foundations of the Marsham government offices. It is the s nucleus of normal government communications in London, e.g. But there are undoubtedly a considerable number of specific all Calls t o the Palace of Westunderground sites which hide the minster go through this exchang apparatus vital to controlling the Defence Message Switching country from public sight. These Centre (See Systems Technology include the seven deep shelters (15a on map) beneath Trafalgar sq. i s the central communications built in World War JI, all of control f o r NATO and the which a r e still kept in working military forces. order, with services and include a considerable number

cation unit lies some way be known as Mercury. There substantial underground

d by Spies for Peace ribing in full and disturbing overnment - the secret, disrsed bunkers from which

up by a careful analysis of the London telephone system, which attempted to link various buildmgs in certain telephone 'sectors' which had to he

e still exist, .and a r e movement which gav t o the Spies has lost


ertain. Anarchists

s centre i s now unde

an emergency

uction well below St

nce for a score or mo everal other underground

ork of cable tunnels and

ived at the P 0

y private tunnel.

'several' hu

K can't all be work that Anarchists

- the former Down St station


Goodge St deep shelter and

rom the firsturie's Beneath The Ci eets Laurie attemp iscover the locations of ossibletunnels by starti om known deep-level (i.

interconnections with sites ' the Tottenham Court Rd a r e one section of the Holborn Aldwych Piccadilly Line ext sion, and so on.. A fascinating addition t o t htany of stories is the alleg unopened Bakerloo Line extension to Camberweli~W







1;s. s o m e of these had been

that their designation

sting light on governmen achinations. The buildin ch an extension was dis d reiected, some years

ad already been hui

from simple u ~ ~ u e ~ ~ ct ua u u parks in Whitehall, t o rather more covert parks, like the military vehicle park beneath Hyde Park connected t o Knigbtsbridge barracks. The difficulty about all these i s that there's no need for many of the London tunnels suge r role - nuclear wartime or counter-civilian operations - guns and tanks can efend such few buildings a s 0 operate in an emergency ion. The London tunnels not survive a nuclear

Latin America: no uted and the economy perfectly planned, Latin America could meet the basic needs of its people in about thirty years time. This is the conclusion of a group at th Fondacion Bariloche in Buenos Aires, tina, which has constructed a unique forwardlooking computer model of the world economvs

future. For any good environmentalist, brought up t o believe that by 1985 our richest remaining source of mercury w i l l be c^one$ tuna, these a r e startling assumptions. But behind them is a detailed analysis of what "resource" really is, in both geological an political terms,

portant control points need t o

.The now well-

e specifically designed for socalled Civil Defence purposes none of them is in London. bureaucrats would adminisfrom there, not from some isused extension of the BakerLine. e a r e all seduced bv the word 'Underground'. It takes you back excitingly, t o schoolkid days, and men from Mars, and all that. But the task of emergency counter-revolutionary action


ot live in concealed

lairs. It operates in the middle of the trouble area. Nor i s its control concealed in any way. There a r e ps t o protect it. unnels and milits. The silly season

nonymous would be some areful details of some of the ubterranean installations they sure about - and the ences and exits, please: I'd ly like t o go down and pick e mushrooms. For starters, ow about the map of ngsway overpage ( courtesy PO Courier), spiced with ew pictures of our own..

ignored when we labelled Kahn a s & optimist (neglecting his scenarios of nuclear war) and Meadows a pessimist (discounting his hopes for a state of "global equilibrium".) It was the Limits to Growth study, carried out at MIT for the Club of Rome, that indissolubly linked computers with Future Studies in the public mind. The message that natural resources have well-defined limits, and that when we reach these limits catastrophe will ensue, still moulds many peoples' thinking even though the original study has now be criticized on almost every item both of it method and its data. But very few people side futurological circles remember even most thorough of the critiques, which was

(who have worked closely with Sussex, inci entally), the starting point i s still The Lim to Growth. Already in 1972, the voices of countries like Brazil were hear Stockholm conference attacking

The conclusion is that in most cases "knm reserves" can be multiplied by a factor of 10 o r 20, due t o the combined effects of new discoveries of mineral deposits, mining of the sea bed and the deeper levels of the earth crust, and exploitation of known low-grade deposits - either with new technology or else with existing technology and increased production costs. Of course, Limits t o Growth considered most or all of these possibilities and vet reached the u.n.~ o s i t cconclusion oon. I suspect the main difference betwet and Bariloohe may be in their respectivt

substitutions can be made in the industry. Photography, Ie without silver.

man needs. On the othe Brazilian government have in corn loche wants "growth with justice",

Redeye Obviously, there i s no belief in growth if no r e

the Bariloche model, for its three basicassumptions are that minerals won't r u n out in the foreseeable fut exploiting them will stant. and that the c

s petrol heads for Ă‚ÂŁa gallon, he assumption of steady or fall c e s seems t o conflict with real rice c r i s i s ; but surely even a price c r Bar can be a severe obstacle t o erowth? lot-he's answer is that soon the price of encrg will be set not bv oil but bv nuclear cower. B

be very interesting t o s e e omputer model would be

resources released were invested in son, d and water power. rhaps it i s unfair t o con areas of the big system seem worth mentioning sumptions which a r e at 1e. One concerns urbanization. Statistics many countries show that the more the ulation concentrates in the towns, the ater the improvement in various statistics such a s liter.ic-y or life expectancy. The structure of the Barilnchc model s w m s to

etween fertilizer use and agricultural ction. But is this a reason for giving

least an attemot t o answer the question: can s t feed the world? apparently "tough" attitude t o ecology ts a feeling which is, from a Third point of view, quite justified: the catae i s now, and the worst pollution is the alor and poverty of everyday life. Comed with this, the risks of nuclear accidents r over-use of fertilizers must seem remote. In any case, the world model was not designed to prove points about energy policy or agriculturd techniaues. The ovcrridiw objective


I " A LOW-ENERGY SocietyBut How?" That's the title of a new pamphlet produced by one of Sweden's main environmental groups. It begins with a general cnssion of recent ener debates and states the arguments against high ene usage - environmental disruption, global inequalities, over-dependence on external sources of sinulv. .. and so onand relaites them to othe problem industn al societies. It then dliscusses various stages in the transition t o low-ene stays wi thin the market framewc


for use demand.

then outlined: 'this ely excludes consideration of the distribution lence of fossil and

11 for activists struggle. s h translation i s epared, hut copies sh a r e now available r Janse, Vik'isgatan kholm 11342. Price


cast on BBC2 at 9.20 am on Sunday mornings, just to make s u r e that only the dedicated a r e watching. Should he worth the effort, though: as the OU blurb puts it; "An assumption underlying the course NEW OPEN UNIVERSITY Course "Man-made Futures: Design and logy" and dealing with technological and its relation to social change, gms in February, he Course will centre on nine sel udy books, eleven TV programme

ety", "Policy and Participation", "Design and Technology", f three so-called "Future

e on the BRAD Community at in-v-Gaer ( Avril 13).

generated by adherence to technologies and a growth to turn to radically new s e

may have to design

w e technological change^"

vil Engineers' recent ~ o r Offshore t Struct-

iscussed during the recent 'Alternati~ Technology Event' at the Lee Gre ommunity centre in South-East Graham gave a talk and slide sh about the history, building and i behind his Street Farm House Charlie Clunerbuck of BSSRS t about health hazards in factorie i e Chaplin's classic Mode creened, its sad-funny p l e man's struggle to survive the Depression and his permanel against machines and authority 1-too-accurately our packed meeting ende ranging dicnssion o radical and ecological politics, by much drinking and singing of folk sol

that i s ) active in the N Sea e, and some of them e South for the Winter.

uds have a silver l i Unlike a factory, an oi than a fixed amount

e s neatly the valu

ommissioned- but m to hear, too, tha

hat, you have t o guess

standard i s the "100 whole procedure i any sound, or ims oceanographic hasi

sties-usually, it's some small comfort to note, taken

news, too, for the b r a on the exploration rigs; the dm-k height here is rarely much over 30m and some

rs must pay. In practice,

igation). However, not all safe even now, a s Offshore Structures makes

f i r s t costs yon money


unionised men, but because of the need t o kcco the Great of conm off for

UNDERCURRENTS 9 possibility - t o remain with Scotland. Further, if the Isles ever did go it alone, it would be a fierce independence and unlikely t o give any favours t o English statesmen on shopping trips for oil. Remember, these islanders have been paying a massive transport surcharge on everything they import, and, even more unfairly, everything they export. Cattle have recently been shot and buried on the islands because the mainland prices wouldn't have covered the shipping costs. They have paid dearly for oil. I f they have some t o sell they are not likely t o forget that. And whatever their constitutional position, I see no hope for bargains for the English. The Shetlanders will accept whatwer suits them, but i n their acceptance is no implicit promise for the future. Sincerely, Ian Baird, 243 Midstocket Road, Aberdeen, Scotland.

Tut,tut , Nigel ! Dear Undercurrents, So Nigel G. Turner (Undercurrents 8, p.6) thinks Radical Science Journal and Science for People are "aseptically academic"? Fine, Nigel: "aseptic - preventing putrefaction" (Shorter Oxford Dictionary). Fine. We'll take the complement modestly. I suppose he did actually read the review of the BSSRS booklet? ~ r the d articles i n the same Undercurrents on "above and below the city streets"? And the article i n Undercurrents 8. "The Other Underground"? Not t o mention all the tasty morsels of imformation about 'them' looking at, listening t o and informing themselves about 'us'. Of course, Iknow it's deviant empiricism. but wouldn't you say, Nigel, that all this means something? Who is 'them* and who is 'us'? Why, them is nothing but that dear old, untrusty, ruling class. Us? That's you and me, friend. And the teeming millions who build all those tunnels, shelters, microwave towers, and tanks. Now, I don't find this an entirely satisfactory state of affairs. Do you? No? Well, what shall we do about i t ? First, no self-delusions. I n order to change, we must struggle. Mow? None of your five will do. Can you see it - "Shock - microwave towers shaken by Consciousness 111 !!" or, "Natural Lifestyles cause Massive Tunnel Subsidence!!"? It is time we learned that 'they* have the power, they define the problem, not us. Not yet, that is. One day we shall, but until then we have t o organise t o fight them i n their citadels of power. Those of us who fight as socialists do so, not as advocates of Soviet authoritarianism, or any of the other versions of 'socialism' available in the supermarket of political doctrines. Nigel picks up many of the reasons that these 'socialisms' aren't socialism. I'd quarrel with his "China persecutes racial and religious minorities" and throw in a few more reasons. Then I'd try t o distinguish between between symptoms and causes. And then I'd look at the causes and try some logic. My answer would be that what passes for 'socialism', isn't. It's capitalism of a sort. What's more, all attempts to build an island of socialism i n a sea of capitalism are doomed. Toequate Marxism with Socialism is silly. Iwould have t o use Marxism for m y logic, to analyse 'socialism', so they can't really be the same. Ththretical bullshitting? Your evasion of thought is cowardly. My analysis is not just theoretical. It involves political action too. But it is not frightened of a bit of good old brainwork. I f he would only look at his own letter, Nigel would see that hisanalysis of 'socialist' and 'Capitalist', with much of which Iwould agree, relies precisely on the 'material' level, which he later derides from the lofty heights of the Fourth World. Iwant a world which "places a


much higher premium on animate rather than inanimate" objects, too, Nigel. And other things, such as physical comfort and food for all ,an end t o alienating and unhealthy work, an end t o authoritarianism and social hierarchies, and the fullest development and freedom of the individual. All individuals, not just cosy little me. By all means criticise "meaningless jargon". R.S.J. aims t o anihilate it, wen if our efforts haven't been too successfull yet. Wait for the next one. It should be better. But behind some of that 'jargon', if only we can get at it, are real ideas, real power, and some hope that we can actually achieve, rather than just dream about, the world we want. Struggling classically, John Goodman

whole of capitalism tends t o larger and larger units of production true decentralisation of production would, under democratic control, destroy it. Yours sincerely, etc; fraternally whatwer! Richard Armitage, 175 A Kentish Town Road London NW1 8PD.

Frog Gas Dear Undercurrents, Thought you might like t o hear about some of my findings regarding running cars on gas, i n France. I converted both m y Land Rover and Miva as you described i n Undercurrents No. 6. 1. No need to stick t o a small engined car - the 2.2 Land Rover goes great on propane, but needs a 114" dia. injector and correspondingly larger supply tubes. Both these cars have semiautomatic chokes, and these can be kept pulled out (shut) all the time. They open automatically as the venturi flow increases. 2. Butane is useless, even i n hot weather. Its vapour pressure soon drops so tow (due t o evaporation i n the cylinder) that the engine can't draw off fuel. With propane, however, gas still comes off 0.k. even with thick ice all over the bottle. 3. I n France I discovered that both butane and propane bottles have threads identical t o our butane bottles; I had an adapter brazed onto m y propane regulator. Further, the French gas bottles are already fitted with their own built-in hoseanti-burst valves, so you have t o use propane. With butane, the high gas flow rate (at "low" pressures) inside the bottle causes the valve to operate, and you stop dead! 4. Gas is a lot cheaper i n France than at home, but you need t o deposit about Ă‚ÂŁ against the bottle. This is redeemable on return of the empty t o any depot in the same supply area (better check the extent of this!), provided you can produce an official gas company receipt for your original cylinder. ( I couldn't I've now got the most useless souvenir anyone ever brought back from abroad!) 5. Gas is much more readily available i n France than here. The smaller the town, the better the supply, it seems. D.B.,

Wooly thinking on Sheltands

Dear Undercurrents, Gusher's "Frigging on the Rigs" article i n the last issue, suggesting that panicking English politicians are buttering up the Shetlanders so that they can rescue them from the 'nasty Nats' and ensure their own o i l supply i n the event of Scotland k i n g for independence, displays a lack of comprehension of Scottish politics. I don't think this is Gusher's miscornprehension, Turn Again, Turner but rather that of the miscreants he he is accusing. But it is worth straightening out all the same. Dear Undercurrents. Firstly, it isnot 'almost certain' Unfortunately, Nigel Turner's that the Shetlanders would vote assumptionsare outrageous - not against the Nationalists. Until the i n their simplicity, but i n their last election the S.N.P. nwer tacit acceptance of the present day fielded a candidate i n Orkney and mass mediaiconventionat wisdom Shetland as a matter of policy definition of Socialism. Plainly, he because Jo Grimond constantly has learnt his political economy maintained that he was a profrom "Consciousness Two" or the indeoendent. On thisidatform T' First World, and has naively v he consistantly came t o Westminsaccepted what they had to offer. ter with a thumping majority. But, Russia is no more than capitalism despite his separatist stance, the i n the handsof a small bureaucratNationalist candidate at the ic elite - state capitalism; it is election picked up 3000 votes at further away from Lenin's socialthe first time of asking. Altogether, ism (and anyother socialist's for hardly an anti-independent electthat matter) now than it has ever been orate. Secondly, if Scotland ever gained Socialist doctrine and analysis independence, the Northern Isles has never been less bankrupt than would obviously be part of that it is now; and has certainly nwer independence, even if they did been more necessary. I agree that not return a Nationalist M.P. it should not be presented "aseptithemselves. If this were the case, cally" or "academically", but and a subsequent referendum thesecriticisms are hardly a rationtaken t o determine their position, al basis from which t o dismiss it is b y no means certain that they socialism with the flick of a pen. would opt for an independent The relevance of socialist thinkOrkney and Shetland. Presumably, ing t o say, AT, is that we should the voters who were against an be doing all i n our power t o Oreindependent Scotland, or a larger vent it becoming the prerogative of percentage of them, faced with the of a small elite which uses its new choice of union with Scotland or found-knowledge t o put others at total independence, would then an economic disadvantage how opt for'the least-devolutionary else can we decentralise? The





early stage of development.

of your article about Dinorwic. he object of a pumped storage tallation i s to improve the

i a v care to throw at

me. Thirdly, your article "wat

ilt by myself, and they ail u

V. exchanges, suppo ephone cables. But d

zine that I haves

not production, and by the misuse of words you imply, however ting old and forgotten minets, thus Preventing repeats of

some virtue in the using up of natural resources. I n fact, of

ation burning expensively

quarries is a mess, in which a1 any change would be an improve-

bably easier t o build tha dmill, which is, after all, kind of turbine. On the other

doe of civil, mechanical an l c t r i c a l engineering, and yo

Dinorwic and second at the

d pre-amp stages is inc

aks. The present system u uch as may be found m transmitters, together

ay be applied direct to f a n output is to be taken

harmonics, some of which

high. Biasing is provided

20 f t in open countr iscircuit i s the resul


be thrown back on their own r e s producing allotment food for ins a r e evincing enormous response from enthusiastic D-I-Yers.

diffuse. We'll have three sections:-





-. . .

few hundredths of a centimetre. Your

commercial organisations selling 'AT hardware information for some time n Even among the honest operators we detect a deal of bandwagon hopping opportunism. We will be testing the products, and examining the organis ationsand processes which produce the and if we can help singe a few sticky fingers, s o much the better.

fair-share of scarce materials.

hopeful thesis) merely by being around


d his environment. And far from tanding back and sulking as our sacred phrases are made commonplace, we should be activelylooking to find those points where application of our ideas can have maximum effect. And that, dear

of hitherto freakish alternatives. amazingly, the instabilities of the

onsider the ephemeral, mythical onomous , " or "ecorT-house. a thousand pounds or so ets, and any house can be to energy. Soend

Times costs him £38a throw, advertises a book/let) plus free mation service for £1.75 He's 6,000 of these D N booklets, and had FREE six complaints which kinda indicates HEATING ELEcTHCITY ignorant public. He showed me the file i-,..~ m .,.ii ~3 each Complainer refunded and the . ià an: per v*"*p*mr ¥ * -s ' ;s"&'IS'.'Viv'SSS "SX, , *'Xt"?* h:Ad^I"^rh'l :Go';?, i^it~i receiverOf a turned phrase

. . . -.




,. .

lanations. Still, they are in it for Hmm. money..


design i s severely misc The collectors are loose from Mr. Blanco's Solar


ater taking a long route may r McD. I hope they get an engine advice before they tool up for th

We're hoping to print BR ndercurrents, but the BRAD f

gress of the organisation Nature et Progres, held in P a r i s on 15-17 Novembers Tony ham and Sotires Eleftheriou zoomed across the Channel in the Undercurrents

H ITS brown tinted-glass tower, the Centre International de P a r i s looks

ed up on the Saturday, either t o attend ongress itself or t o buy natural foods, aft products, medicines and cosmetics at he exhibition,, Le Monde put the total ttendance over the three days at 20.000.

and long skirts plug their

e about practical or

se: wholemeal loaves and ho orestry and alternative energy cycles. We

Motorized blinds control the in of radiant heat, and the air in

he 6000 members of Nature et P r

quipment for home-made

(above) was criticized for using glass oncrete. "dead" materials. And some0 pplementary heating in solar hou steful. Jf the house uses roughly

ed the big hall t o h

the nuclear s h

of F r a n c e ' s n b e on the coa into the s e a , "

orld's f i r s t potato c

a final swelter in s t e a m , T timed by t h e softening of a (ordinateur) is the word th brochure, and s o shall c o s t s about Ă‚ÂŁ40 t h e s

the government's nuclear power

UNDER1 Wind Organisations

M a x Cruuau (right) siws chemical ferti.1i s e r s are unnecessary. Nitrogen and phosphorus can be got from compost and urban waste. Potassium is naturally carried from the sea and falls in the rain. can be added to soil in the form of powder It must be the right kind of , and it must be ground to the texture ur. It can then be sprayed onto the a slurry, Crouau describes it as n prover rather than a fertiliser. The am problem i s silicosis. North African

Jean-Claude Mainaud (left) opposes factor arming, but thinks animals have an import and role in organic agriculture. By digest-

ation. According to Mainaud, stockeeders who change to organic methods ill experience an immediate improvement ii the health of their animals. He dislikes mmercial vaccines and artificial feeds. d treats his own stock with homoeooathic

Fiches Ecologiques a r e duplicated on A4 paper. Some a r e single sheets, some

in 1973, and he's covered an amazing c of subjects. There a r c 40 leaflets on

riculture, gardening, pests, and on going ck to the land ; 23 on wind energy, solar ergy and methane; 22 which list suppliers ganic produce in France; 47 on selfmedicine (pretty weird, some of "em); a growing number of leaflets which ply list names and addresses of organic: f a r m e r s and other interesting people,, he shook i s the price: 2F (18p) per leaflet. ou don't like it, do your own research,. alogue i s f r e e but you should probably nd an international reply coupon for post, A kind of "women's page", Fiches dag0giques.i~published by Christine Don>

for sole

Nature et Progres, (The European Association for Organic Agriculture and Health), 3 Chemm de la Berserie,

Societe Aerowatt, 37 rue Chan 75on Tel- 7

(Organic f a r m e r s who read French will find two addresses for him, their magazine Nature ct Progres interest- 1 route do Gallarden 4 all have a good list 92 1 order,)

75015 Paris. (French Friends of the Earth.)

"onsto supplying a major portio

.. . I t should be reasonably cheap a It ought to be widely available a r geographical factors.

should be capable of being ow for differing requirements and states of technologiI development I t should provide substantial net energ ance for a l l necessary energy investme

into energy haves and have-not ped electricity distribution network ra-structure. The few efforts to sell nuc world countries have been largely for propa

e fission product invent

ces of dying in a nucle

ms way,especially Americium whichremains dangerous for million years, have not yet been revealed. The fact that no y, even in principle, has been found to dispose of these wastes has not prevented the planned huge increase in reactor numbers. e we consume the The problem will be lef kilowatts. Low level radiation, d planned releases an from contaminated co cers a year and perhaps induce genetic disorders. Plutoniu product of any reactor, is a :.~niquehazard. I t is one of th toxic substances known and a few kilogrammes can be u make a bomb. Proliferation of nuclear weapons throught soread of commercial reactors throuahout the world i s almo

anium hexafluoride UF6, a gas, is pum rous membrane. The U235 atoms dif


he Advanced Gas combinations of fissile materials, modera

eferred to as the Retarded Gas C (RGR) on account of the several

uses enriched Uranium in dioxide form (DO?). e Steam Generating Heavy Water Reactor (SGHWRI

beneficial in the long run, since it has slowed nuclear programme to a crawl compared with

ectly in the reactor core to produce the steam hich is then piped t o the turbines.

storage problems are that much less. The CANDU Reactor (Canadian, deuterium moderated, natural uranium reactor). Had a hard e commercially over the last few years due to

f withstanding the operating pressures of severa

bsence of reprocessing requirement, and good sa

while the debate rages on. in America are forced to build extra safe-

t least moduce some power. Uses n

ends the usefulness of nuclear power a Balls, say the critics. The breeding ratios now visaged will mean that an FBR will take anything up to 40 years to produce enough plutonium t o fuel itself, far too long to have any impact on fuel needs. Besides the breeders are much more expensive and

UNDERCURRENTS 9 t opposition groups

y conference in Vienna PA

ly seven

the sort of critique such a study deserv Nevertheless a number of points have been raised which tend t o cast some

h information i s tion of 'fault trees' which define the

er the risk i n i , a h a n a ~ y a i a ,as itics have pointed out, is t h a t not take into account all t h e r is there any assurance that t nsidered obey the laws o f p r o oubts about the applicability

nv malfunction.

fusal t o recognise po sks ianore'd included the D tastrophic failure of a st ssel, widely considered t o be 'in e' despite extensive British and n data t o s h o w that failures pected two or three times i and reactor-years. I t is hard ssuring t o hear a senior fficial saythat 'No design hich could withstand ences of pressure vessel, s decided t o take the ris Naturally, with these's0 olved and with the oecu sity o f things nuclear t o alarm' the p

accident. The first

rences i n 30 LWRs between r y 1972 and 31st May, 1973 ised a serious question regardthe review and inspection practices h on the part of the nuclear industry AEC', also concluded that 'It ult at this time to assign a high )i confidence t o quantification ?ve! of risk associated with reactors'. ritain the Director of the Vs Safety and Reliability rate, F R Farmer, appears t o doubts on some of t h e ited safety claims. 'In lard to show a failure i n the range 111,000,000 00 with reasonble confid to take into account lation or maintenance are ~ " m e t i m e cnot a< "nod

. . ..

e of LWRs i n which cornpon



. .

are ortginally thought t o be'. l y , it may be the human being 3 kev to the whole safetv deamount of risk analysis can account the mechanic who tighten a vital bolt, the techo miss sets a safety device, t h ~ i o heat-stressesa join, the who leaves his control board while he fetches a cup o f


1990's. the fuel on which the West w then depend for i t s continued econom owth. This conclusion isforced on an one who will draw an upward-bending curve for gross national product and parallel it with a similar curve for en



uranium, it 'breeds' another nuclear fu plutonium 239. On this rest the nuclei

Fossil fuels cannot meet the demand, e argument runs, nor can 'alternative' ces of power such as sun o r wind trolled nuclear fusion i s s t i l l just m in a physicist's eye. The 'energ gap can only be plugged rn one way: nuclear fission power stations. If nude wer stations of existing types are buil the 'necessary' rate, the resulting emand for uranium will send prices pward. The solution we are offered i s a


ray production conceal the nume roblems which still surround the bre he reactor itself may be liable t o certai s o f accident which are inconceivab ordinary 'thermal' reactor. At t this might include a nuclear ex hen there are the risks associat th plutonium. Plutonium i s a manment, the raw material of atomic mbs. It is exceedingly toxic: minu antities are very effective i n indue ncer. If plutonium is stored and trans orted in power station quantities, liberate theft and acciden ll be hard t o prevent. Even the economics of

can breed plutoni esign of breeder reacto because the physics a e crucial process is the a neutrons by atoms of uranium of omic weight 238. The U238 is conve into fissionable plutonium 239. For is purpose the neutrons have to be moving fast, otherwise the U238 nuclei will not absorb them. The high power densities of fast reors, of the order of 350 to 450 kW per e, demand efficient cooling. Water is useless because it stows down neutrons too much. Current practice favours the metal sodium, which me! boiling point of water. One measure of the ance is the 'conversion ratio', the number of atoms of potential nuclear fuel it generates for each atom consumed. Conversion ratios are never large numbers. The fission of a U235 (or Pu239) nucleus usually produces two or three neutrons. ne of these is needed to carry on chain reaction, leaving one or two trons available for breeding. Proto reactors have achieved conversion rat) of around 1.1 which i s to say that the scarcely breed at all. The first wmmer cia1 breeders are exoected to achieve a The practical signifi ersion ratio is simple. If th ,the reactor may take very s to produce enough fuel t other reactor of the same size. first commercial breeders perform no etter than the prototypes, the 'd

reeder to have much impact on the To reduce do

u r n and plutonium oxides. Fas ors will only begin to breed to ul extent when new carbide fue e introduced. But the technologica roblems of carbide-fuelled reactor

er reactors can

It may be that some gov have ooted for the breeder lessfor omic than for strategic reaso uranium remains cheap, most d like to reduce the amo to import. The public can prov e cost of this supposed 'benefi public may also be asked certain risks. Many of the of fast reactors are simi ar those of thermal reactors. But furt specific problems are created by t h compact core design, the high pow density, and the hquid sodium coo

a bomb. I t s fuel i s too dilute to for ' o r o m ~ critical' t arranoement of fis " material even in the worst possibl accident. The fuel of a fast reacto ever, could in principle be rearra in a geometry capable of support! explosive chain reaction. Much r e has been devoted to proving that practice this will not happen. Var scenarios have been investigated.

NDERCURRENTS costly. Some plu mum at a reprocessing plant always s u p in insoluble solid waste. This waste may be inhomogeneous, and ~lutonium content must be estimated bv analvsis of small and not necessarilv representative sample Even if analytical perfect, human error readily, or records co ly cooked in innume January 7th. America's Atomic En Commission said that it had discover three occasions on which AEC rules had been broken a t the Kerr-McGe Corporation's reprocessing plant in Oklahoma. On one occasion ther 'too much readioactive material . place', the implication being tha little more might have made a cr mass of plutonium. I ed an explosion would have bee unlikely, but workers might hav ed a very nasty dose is still some 'material unaccounted for' at the ulant thouah the AEC has not

Iten sodium meets molten ura

ments. Simulations carried out Argonne National Laboratory,

duced reassuring results. Stated

reactors). Plutonium 239 has a half-lifeof 24.000 years. On the time-scale of human activities, it is long-lived. To human tissues or to a Geiger counter, however, it is strongly radioactive. Unlike uranium 235 or 238, it i s not safe to handle. Even conservative estimates make it one of the most toxic substances known. Inside the body i t tends to concentrate in the bones, leading to possible bone cancer. I t may also collect in the liver, Reports in the Guardian have also suggested that there is an unusually high incidence of I aemia in British plutonium worke Seven cases have occurred, with five deaths, in a group of which only on case was to be expected. Plutonium dust is also dangerous if inhaled. According to Tamplin and Cochran, official limitsfor inhaled plutonium have been set 100.000 times

use German licensing autho

pumps are stopped, all the control

I of course come too late to affect itain's PFR and France's Phenix. They

I ction between liquid sodium a

ir. As one engineer put it 'we have dium fire every once in a while, bu r it has not been catastrophic.' kg of sodium was lost in a fire at he Shevchenko prototype fast react n the USSR. It happened because of in a steam generator, allowing ium and water to meet. This po l i t y is so commonplace that all liqu metal cooled power reactors use ate loops of sodium plumbi s through the core, and acq ce radioactivity; the other loop ich serves the steam generators pposed to stay relatively 'clea ese systems are duplicated so ngle failure should not be disa owever if a multiple failure leads t oss of coolant', the core has t o look er itself. No genuine emergency

Sometimes plutonium gets lost at reprocessing plants like this one.

too high. The standards are based on the assumption that radiation from a plutonium particle is spread over the whole lung. Tamplin and Cochran, on the other hand, believe that a 'hot' particle can lodge in one place for about a year and deliver an enormous dose of radiation to a small volum lung. On their theory, one sing1 particle a thousandth of a m across would give a person a 2000 chance of lung cancer. In a few thousand particles would rais the chance to near certainty. A cou of kilos of plutonium could, in principle, wipe out everybody in the world. Breeder reactors may have made several thousand tons by the end of the century. Despite the known dangers, plutonium is guarded, i" the words of George F Will, 'no more rigorously than currency'. In fact plutonium accounting at nuclear plants is a good deal looser than money accounting. The accuracy which can be achieved is about 1%, according to an official American reps However one safeguards expert said that only 3-5% accuracy can be e ed over the whole fuel cycle. To

confirmed the union's allegation that between twenty and thirty kilograms of plutonium, enough for several bombs, went missing on one occasion, The Kerr-McGee plant is by no means the only one in the USA with hair-raising stories on its record. But it attract unusual attention when a technicia Karen Silkwood, died in a car eras n her way to meet journalists and union fficials. She had complained that conditons at the plant were unsafe, and plutonium was found in her body and urine. not accidental.


reach the hands of organised crime o terrorist groups, then how much gre will the risk be when hundreds of k i grams are travelling from breeder rea to reprocessing plant and from there t thermal reactors all over the country? few weeks ago near Preston i n Lanca a lorry driver slammed his brakes on five hundredweight drum slid forwar smashed through the cab and fell on t




ed for as high interest COSTS. These increases alone would add SO-30 billion

"- ..-,.."

disease known as 'revenue erosion'. They souaht to resolve their dilemma bv rais.




-.-...-,, ,-"*,,",w""u~" sumer demand, lack of timely and adequate rate relief, soaring operatii costs, depressed stock prices and re< interest rate on debt offerings. As o June of this year stocks of 93 electr utilities averaged 76% of book value Since offerings of additional comm( stock will mean further dilution of earnings per share, such equity issue are unattractive to investors This financial distress arises at a time wh their need for funds for expansion c generating capacity - even with the


the cheapest formof power and gettir cheaper (relatively) and so it has been difficult for the industry to obtain

payable on the capital with an accotinting item called 'Allowance for Fund! During Constructi6n'. This income

'ty to borrow through the t because of the high level owance for Funds during const h i s , in turn, throws a window of li in general condition of American apttalism. In the past the utilities' ionnection with two great interests I and banking -has been to their idvantage. Now the reverse is the Fhese institutional shareholders ha ecently been pulling out their equ in a major scale from the local po nmpanies. However they have kep

of non-operating income allowable for 'coveraae'. (the ratio of earnings to fixed assets). The result is that the utility resorts to various1 forms of indebtedness. Georgia Power, l i o n and this ties it close1 nks. Increasinq short term duces the value of the equity s t i s also inflationary. I f the comp ge to float another issue s has the effect of diluti

try which the US says i t needs and which would be headed by nuclear power. It is questionable whether orivatt US capital really wants t o come intc the nuclear field. The risk element i too great. Bank and big institutions pital has been pulling out. Who, tl I provide the enormous sum of


inrichment industry, is in trouble. E hey are both in government hands, .z.--



m c tm > ~ O Ueu&tn,us,d L~~ au"uL


--*. :..- :


the big private fish have moved awa' after sampling the bait. The fast bre at Clinch River is going to cost not 1 3699 million dollars estimated in 1Ă&#x201A; 31,736, which i s the AEC's new imate. So far. 32 billion have bee !nt on Research and Developmeni the LMFBR. , ' d . .... . .A.. L .aa -L. 8 r e e a i - ~ u . 5dre nut uuiit, inen nium will be going spare. Alread) ere i s quite a traffic going on in sa f uranium betwepn different utiliti In this doubtful market (doubtful b cause i t could be contrary to the nu m n proliferation treaty in certain ci cumstances) the banks are ola vina a e inevitab ...A

. . -

backward Europe. The nuclear ustry may be to American capita

estments to

s, specifically to meet the envi a! costs on their power operati

ate capital can or wishes to undt

~ U L I ~ecnnoiogy, ~ ~ I an0 xney comted themselves to work beyond their

ed prices. They suffered from a n as 'revenue erosion'. They

for as high interest cost ses atone would add

he utilities, as regulated

he cheapest form of power and getti ;heaper (relatively) and so i t has beer lifficult for the industry to obtain

payable on the capital with an accour ing item called 'Allowance for Funds During Construction'. This income

energy Agency trecemiy sacKea ny Ford for being too outspoken) 'Th utility industry is confront cal financial problems. Corn. ve experienced a deb erosion of revenue due t o reduc sumer demand, lack of timely an adequate rate relief, soaring opera costs, depressed stock prices a s t rate on debt offerings. June of this year stocks of 93 e utilities averaged 76% of book va erings of additional corn ck will mean further dilutio nings per share, such equity e unattractive to investors ncial distress arises at a time r need for funds for expansion o generating capacity - even with t


'ty to borrow through the t because of the high level owance for Funds during const non-operating income allowabl r 'coverage', (the ratio of earnin fixed assets). The result is that

s currently a debt of abou l i o n and this ties it closet

institutional shareholders ha ly been pulling out their equ major scale from the local po nies. However they have kep



ces the value of the equity s t also inflationary. I f the compan

ion Carbide Westinghous

roan Guaran-

It i s

y which the US says it needs and hich would be headed bv nuclear

tv 1.2 mteresting that the three major

Bankers 1.5


nkers Trust 1.5

I stock - ie reducing the dividend, unless

the tast breeder, and still more the enrichment industry, i s in trouble. But they are both in government hands, and after much euphoria about getting in the big private fish have moved awa after sampling the bait. The fast bre at Clinch River is going to cost not the 3699 million dollars estimated in 19 but 31,736, which i s the AEC's new estimate. So far, 32 billion have be spent on Research and Developme for the LMFBR. If the reactors are not built, t h uranium will be going spare. Alrea there i s quite a traffic going on in sal of uranium between different utilitie In this doubtful market (doubtful be

----- .

-- -- ... " , .-.."

the coal industry was to Briti

nds, specifically to meet the envir estments to

s have wished on them.

troomgroep Stop Kalkar, Here

nsumption. Probably still more

n s t the project. Several thousa

pie now refuse to pay the tax, meeting on 28 September 1974.

en IBS ~ ) M I Bmnnimm E ~ UIWI ite ten-

nulleoires en projet


lmtmnnont OrtuellemeRt en F m e

, ,- . . -UNDERCURRENTS 9 <.

CONVENTIONAL TECHNOLOGICAL wisdom has as its centrepiece the idea of nuclear power as a cheap, clean, virtually inexhaustiblesource of energy, the fuel , which writ! free the west from the domination of the oil Sheikhs. It must come as a considerable shock t o the faithful that, far from freeing us from the oil yoke, nuclear power i s likely to extend the period of dependence on fossil fuel - and some national nuclear programmes may never produce more energy than they consume. This apparent paradox, where a plant which is obviously producing (ie, electricity is coming out the business end) can in fact be a net consumer of energy for a large part, if not all, of i t s lifetime, has emerged from energy analyses of nuclear power, notably those carried out by Peter Chapman and John Price (1) of the Open University and arises for two principal reasons. Firstly very considerable amounts of energy have to be expended to build t h e plant, to mine, purify and enrich the uranium and to provide the other necessary materials such as heavy water for certain types of reactor. Secondly, and turns out more importantly, in the current situation the reactor cannot be considered * in isolation but must be seen as part of a programme, which is growing very rapidly. Some of the reactor output has to be invested in the building and fuelling of future plants and the proportion which must be invested depends critically as it turns out - on the rate of .' growth of the nuclear programme. In the British case, with the number of reactors planned to double every 4.3 years slow by the standards of some other countries -analysis of the energy flows involved shows that even using high grade uranium ores only about a quarter to a half the energy which is supposed to be produced will be available for general consumption. The rest will have to be reinvested to sustain the rate of growth of reactor construction. This means that either two to four times as much capacity must be built as was expected or else the electricity generated will be two to four times as expensive. For the current US and French programmes, which envisage doubling reactor numbers every 2.5 and 2 years respectively, energy analysis leads to the apparently absurd conclusion that all the energy they produce - and more - must be reinvested. In other words these reactors will receive a continuing energy subsidy from fossil fuels. I f Priceand his cohorts are right - a point much contested by some (see Wright & Syrett, Energy Analysis of Nuclear Power, New Scientist 9/1/75)then they have raised very serious doubts about the whole raison d'etre of the nuclear programme. It has become an article of faith, almost an ideology in some quarters, that nuclear power is the only source capable of meeting the demands of the next few decades.Now

the task of building the plants in the time required may turn out to be truly Sisyphean. Like a snake eating i t s own tail the nuclear programme could consume the energy it produces. It may be, as has been claimed, that in the long run nuclear power comes into very favourable energy balancerbut that is hardly the point. By 'long term' is meant the much-heraldedslowdown to a zero growth situation, but i n the industrialised world the emphasis is on the relatively short term replacement of one





2 6 e


to different energy

ratios (Ex),for a


energy source by another, while exWnential growth i s expected to continue. The impetus, at least in'the West, is political and financial - t o adopt an energy source more easily controlled and less of a burden on the balance of payments - the exact opposite of the likely effects of current nuclear.programmes. Of course these initial attempts to analyse the whole nuclear energy picture are rather crude and likely to be modified. But proponents of nuclear power are unlikely to find much comfort in Price's initial assumptions, which are conservafive, giving nuclear power the benefit of the doubt on any questionable points. Thegrade of uranium assumed (0.3%) is higher than that typically mined today which means unrealistically low estimates for mining and process energy consump- -tion. Energies associated with decommissioning obsolete reactors and transporting, treating, storing and disposal of low and medium level radioactive wastes have been neglected, as have those with high level wastes where the storage method i s still speculative and may well involve considerable energy usagi. The value assumed for construction time, 5 years, is considerably shorter than those actually experienced in most countries - giving rise to optimistic


predictions for the dynamic energy * yield of a growth programme. Indeed in many cases construction and delay times seem actually to be increasing. All reactors have been assumed to operate throughout their lifetimes at full design rating. In practice plants i n many countries have had to be derated due to corrosion and other problems. The assumed lifetime average capacity factor of 62% (ie the reactor produces over i t s lifetime at an average rate of 62% of i t s maximum capacity) may be an overestimate. Recent USAEC data suggests that the true figure may be nearer 50% because aging problems, (metal fatigue, corrosion, dirt accumulation etc) appear earlier and are more serious than was first thought. Two principal lessons for any future energy policy result from these analyses. Firstly doubling times of a few years, four or less, are probably not sustainable with nuclear power if it is expected to produce a substantial net yield of energy. This ultra-rapidgrowth is the result of attempting simultaneously to meet a rapid growth in demand and substitute for traditional fuels. Nuclear power could do perhaps one or the other, it cannot do both. The best that can be said for it in t h e present situation is that by consuming 1-2 kwh of fossil fuel energy for every kwh it produces, compared to the 4 kwh of fuet which a conventional oil or coal powered station consumed to produce a kwh of electricity, a nuclear power station can help to stretch fossil fuel resources by two to four times. In other words it i s a rather more efficient way of burningoil or coal than Battersea power station which is a long way from the role ofsaviour of technological civilisation as we know it in which it had been cast by some of its proponents. A second policy lesson may be gained from looking at possible energy yields if the rapid growth programmes are slowed down or halted, which on present forecasts, is unlikely to be before the end of the century. (A further irony of the situation may then be that, with plants havingto reinvest a much smaller fraction of their output, a much greater proportion will be available for general consumntion at a time when demand growth has halted. The result i s likely to be a huge energy glut or a rapid decommissioning of plant.) What fraction of the energy initially expended on the programme is recovered will depend on the way t h e slowdown occurs, but in general the time taken to recover energy deficits resulting from a too-rapid initial growth are very long and may exceed the lifetime of the plant. I n Price's words 'It i s less painful in the long run (and a more efficient use of national resources) to stop the programme and redirect i t s resources i n a more rewarding direction than merely to slow the programme down i n the hope of recouping losses incurred so far'.





'^ ,*


wash Conferen

e must be added the possibility

s of the arms race or the triggermentality of the military,it wo

ns are more complex than a de to vaporise the enemy and ail his

PANDORA NS THE BOX ed from the International Atomic Enerav Aqencv, the growth in possible bombproduction capacity of the wor

t i s left of it, over the next twenty s: 'The peaceful use of atomic

and refined in plants operated supervision by the major powe

'diverted' is very real. Even '

are that we are on the very point of a large increase in the number of nuclear

Professor Ephraim Katzir, Pr

clear weapons using plutonium

a research reactor a t Dimona in the

uct of nuclear power, the produe of Plutonium 239, a fissile material,

ill be again, to make a bomb. To get some idea of the scale of the oblem, consider first the average uclear power station with an electrical

is missing, it merely reflects the degr

place. But it also means that if amount of plutonium less than t MUF factor were removed from

following the Indian test. The Sha r a n attends to carry his nation wi nuclear weapons 'if the small nation

and Israel to obtain reactors from the world MUF factor may be the uranium enriched in the US: Africa to buy French reactors; tina to obtain knowhow from I and Japan to obtain uranium o from Niger and take advantage French enrichment facilitiesthe terms of the 1970 nuclear Proliferation Treaty which for

urrently enforced for fissionable i

onvert every international arran

roachWitness too the recen pera-


revent the theft of strateaic " naterials by sufficiently deterr iroups whose motives are subv br economic. is a monumental diversion

'High Intensity Operations'; bu

erethe threat to use a bomb c an the panic evacuation of a c

is this identification wi ifficult technical feat in usiness, the isotopic enri

the threat's the thing it is not r sary to be in possession of a bo o be convincing. This Would mea

intentions o f the "enemy" and eir only recourse is to ally themse

e rulers tacitly agree among thems e positions each will be a110 wed to

o knows where to look

arrangements. in I" Hanson8 describes t cal values can he d e spherical results by equation. Hanson also tal critical mass data f o r c e neutron assemblies and these agreement with Ackroyd and For spherical configurat' geometry which minimises the values for Pu 239 are: Sphere with infinite water Sphere with thick uranium

mass and

e. This means that t h

on the constru

relating to the specific case of a b However there are a number o f paper .'rh;,.h ,,*',I







super prompt critical 'excursion accidents in fast reactors.

use o y w r ists, or even that we could p the idea into the mind o f so one who would otherwise ne have thought of it. Although recognise that thiscriticism i well motivated, we cannot ac die uuiiuuinny u s

pears t o be Bethe and Tail's 'An StinvAte of the order of magnitud

rciing t o this anal

The real villain is the power programme an quent rapidly growing

fast critical assembly, Los

omputes the variation in time and sp the specific energy, temperature,


Ulte a reasonable picture of t h e neutron ! ux development of an atomic bomb. , :


an efficient explosion there s t o be two principal problems: to assemble the pieces in such a at there is no premature, low d explosion which blows the

hain reaction and that localised

density in which we are intereste have not attempted t o do so he because apart from anything els needs a lot of work and access t computer. However nothing mu beyond application and a grasp o

t element in nuc! ole questior~ma

mmittee of the National Acad

positions. The area around the Han plant, for example, had apparently under water at least four times in last 40,000 years, the last time ab

has to be stored, disposed ow rendered safe. Nobody e up with a disposal solution

usand years, longer in the case of e 129, Caesium 135 and several

about assuming, and in an attempt t o relieve the burden the industry i s now concentrating its efforts on the solidifi-

Low level radiation, the result o planned and accidental releases, senting the most insidious dange thenuclearprogramme. That so

out of thereprocessing plant i s not yet

I t cannot be con-

leukaemia in the US. Not su

f the FRC level - a n assertion trasted strangely with a continue

i e case of another i, Americium 241 period is longer K Pitman of the EC this hazard 'does not decrea ficantly in more than ten million aken literally the problem i s of rse insoluble - which is why the dustry tends t o ignore any but the ortest of short term considerations. Instead it stores the wastes as they

Salt formation <lorag"

All methods of ultimate disposal ot the wastes so far suggested have been rejected as being either impractical, unsafe or too expensive and more often than not all three. Schemes have ranged from disposal in s a l t domes in the earth's crust (unsafe) through hot packs which would melt their way through the antarctic ice (unsafe and politically impossible) to a

premise that the construed as an a could result every

%tes be;ng eventually present In other words what the FRC lay




from a power plant can be depo azards. Over two million litre ' hly radioactive wastes have Ie ay from allegedly safe tanks, of them the property of the US

ton state where 11 level waste leaked

e concentrated in the pro ximum permissible PC) for Caesium 13

because nrecision fabrication o f cylinders is much easierthan for spheres. Critical assembly should be effected by firing the core into a hollow cylinder. This arrangement is chosen because (a) it minimises the surface area which each section presents to the other before contact and therefore produces a sharply peaked critiCality. (b) When criticality is reached, with the core largely inserted, there is a minimum of opposition to the initial motion of the core. The plutonium is surrounded with uranium which acts both as a neutron reflector, lowering the critical mass, and also as a tamper, helping t o constrain the explosion in the initial stages. The uranium is wrapped in cadmium, followed by a layer of solid hydrocarbon 15cm or so thick followed by another cadmium skin and then an outer casing of steel. The hydroc-irbon hyer is 1.) ih~-rniiilis~ cscdping neutrons itnil Chi" double cadmium Idyer then absorbs them, preventing them from escaping altogether or being reflected back into the plutonium and causing an unwanted high neutron flux The time of iissembly is a very important parameter in the neut flux calculations and a detaile ledge of explosives is necessar mine this time. This 1%fairly f ,Cook's The 'science of hi osives14, for instance, giv of information not just on es themselves but also on t of materials under explosive stress, again something which needs detailed study if a device is to be successfully constructed From a knowledge of the masses and dimensions involved and the pressures nroduced by high explosive it would appear that the masses cannot be brought together in much less than half a millesecond The longer the barrel down which the core is fired the greater its speed In ordei to prevent any gas pressure problems the barrel in front of the core should he evacuated. Pat Coyne

3 . Feld, Bernard. "Nuciear Energy-Fact vs Myth", paper given at the 24th ~ u g w a s bconference, Baden, Austria August 28 to3spt 2 , 1974. 4 Levins Amory B. Nuclear Power Technical B o E ~ ~ for Ethical conoern. Friends of the Earth. 9 Poland St, London W1V 3DG 1974

kroyd & M e Mullen Albedo Methods. Proc Gee

Propertied of Elementary Faat Neutron ies. hid. P/592 USA. o1ski.E. Patent Precede Pow Fabriquer des es AComlques. IV 953-258 No 1.376 048 1963 m

" n Simple systems and Idealised Past d P c Gen C o d , P/481 USA. Bethe, =.AH 8. Tait, J.H. An Estimate of the dec of Magnitude of the Explosion whm the Core a past ~ e a c t o rcollapses. US/UK ~ e a c t o H r ~ZW~S t i n g , RHM (56)/113. April 1956, Okrent & Humrnel ~ e a c t i v i t ycoefficients in Large t Pmsr R e ~ t o r a , Jankus 7 . 2 . A Theoretical Sudv of Deetructlvt c l e a r Bwsta tn Fast power ~eactore Science of High O



:tion guideline Like fish a week which :ame from water at the MPC co .o a dose more tha n a hundred tim :he guideline. Central t o Gofr irgument is the as! a f e limit to radiat :o be harmful righ" evels and that the1re is no lower 11 ielow which the b nechanisms can cc The direct proof o r disproof of this c inty come from a :erm statistical inv io-called 'permissil gnorance of the e' Considerable hi id by plutonium. ' :oxic substances k the order of a mici ,,,2s,.,3nas,a low as a hundredth ,. =use leukaemia o r cancer. Even small

Summary of dose

- ---




mcrpbtfs o f


an or tissue


V V I IU Will


the . nuhl r-

part of the lung of severa

I t ; I lt;A

Unless the situation changes dramaticall the present and projected growth in nuclear power could lead t o a crisis in fuel supply, with severe shortages of uranium ore together with shortage of enrichment and reprocessing plant,in the early nineteen eighties. An uranium ore shortage is likely to arise from a combination of the very rapid growths envisaged and the aftermath of the oversupply, tow prices and disinclination to explore for ore bodies which existed throughout the sixties. Present reasonably-assured world reserves, producible at the rather arbitrary key price of 310 a pound, are about 1,130,000 tonnes of uranium oxide (U30g),sufficient t o sustain an ann production of 60-65,000 tons. The . . requirements from nuclear programmes already planned are likely to exceed t figure by about 1980, reach 11 5,000 tons annually by 1985 and be as muc as 200,000 tons by 1990. Since i t takes at least 8 years, and more practical terms 10-12 years, t progress from exploration to actua getting a field into production, eno uranium has t o be discovered every to cope with expected demand years in the future. Starting in discoveries would have t o be m annual, and increasing rate of 1 tons a year-'a formidable, if not impos sible task', commented Dr S H U Bowie of the Institute of Geological Sciences n a report to the British Association A further comolication s the 001 t.cai considerations which go these days wit any energy source. Apart from the US and to a lesser extent France, the worl

major uranium suppliers are either less developed countries or those with small populations. As in the case o f oil these countries are now beginning to see t h e advantages of limiting supply. Both Australia and Canada the two largest producers after the US, have recently adopted conservation measures and are viewing very closely both the a m o u n t they are willing to export and t h e extent to which they will allow other countries to become involved in Uranium production. The inevitable result of uncertainty over supply has been price rises, a doubling over the last two years, and the first $20 a pound contracts are pected to be signed this year. Altho nuclear power is relatively insensi ' . . , ~ ,, .~~ -.o TUG! COSTS toouoiing uranium price dds only 6% to the price of the el ricity), the expected rise t o 350 a r more before 1990 could add 30 present costs and this, coupled wit ?




on delays, could begin r power out of the mar ontrary to what might b ecent price rises have not stimula rove a pound of uran e running at a minimum of 3 3 a year by 1977. These sort of s just not being spent, which mean the uranium which is mined will incr ,n price all the taster Furthermore i f out out does I se lower qraae ore borf,es w 11 . ave t o be exploited, further pushin sts and possibly making the ener the whole nuclear enterprise ma

. . .

plications of a zero-growth economy and of technological civilisation. Peter Sommer has been finding in some of hese ruminati-ons a salutary antidote t o some of our more escapist A T fantasies.

And again on growthem of the world in o n and scarcity o es. 'Survival ', possible solution. in the nineteenth have sharpened, they the been re-examining their

buting the wealth of the rich been largely social and moral, not economic .. 'The political implications


scale. And before that satisfaction even has a from your cortex to

e not s o far from the Great De ion of the 1930's.or s o mvulner its repetition, that we can affo redefine 'quality of life' with

unlikely to be a peaceful p within nations and almost a s between the industrial

implications of zero g r

peak of "intervening"


dismay which even t economic problems

across. Their comparison of

community. Very often they h open or secret conservation~st elitists, . . They have some

. .


that people in industrial societies like Rritain arc not really troubled today hey a r e too rich, or because unwilling to admit that they cannot go on indefioitcly getting richer. They a r e troubled by certain social,

itish case, the the conflict he

To accent such pe that history continues to be a process. It is to believe that we a r e at the term point of history.. E seems t hat the oroblem growth, poses a problprn we already know too well, For what but resist acknowledeine .




what declinc already means in too manv pat-ts of Rritain today. Not only the physical environment poll humanity is degraded. The pollution is that which is causcd by ~ o v e r t vand archaic industries.99

rsistent anxiet

a bright efficient

at has both an aristocratic and

tter at al1.But such an outcome is her easier to envisage than that of til hemeral AT Utopia which involves SET

and. Both solutions could fail,

t anxiety of a peculiarly mode

the long-term future, and any propa lutions -- whether from the Hudson

managerial elites or to 'cop out' o the countryside to the rural commui om where you will issue technological ata on the reform of our lifestyles. . ociety which steadily m r k s to ths

For the institutions of our society may

the contemporary Ma 'n any event a r e no

akes of technolo

hnological self-sufficiency trip a s

public land should be re-requ encourage people to grow more fo

132,000 acres of private ga av that £8 million pounds worth o

ood was produced from British gardens n 1970. This, remember, is the produce )f 14%of the houseplot area. If people were encouraged to increase the pe Entage of their garden which they ' rote to vegetables, fruit and small ¥took then the value of domestic f production would rise corresponding y Since 66% of the house-plot is av

British food demand. ggest however that the area

ere encouraged to increase the pe entage of their garden which ihey ole to vegetables, fruit and small li




able for cultivation (1.e. 1s not under , , , .

make even greater savings, provided that

lace imported oranges (and provi re vitamin C per ounce). Changes in diet could thereto crease the potential saving by r ing tropical foods with home-gro alternatives, by replacing process

aid Leach13 suggests tha has a total inputloutput do today, we might well find that nutritional value of the averaged' would be higher and the carbohy the nation's health. Best and Ward found tha

esents a direct replacement, but eat home grown plums instead of impo

oduce also suggests that

Table Ill Amount of Nutrients par month provided by 10 square feat of around under different vegetable crops



Fresh potatoes

If one has a piece of land whic grow a few vegetables, what i s crop to grow there to provide value? I n Part I the discussion was I terms of financial values. When the is no longer being purchased but is 'free' it becomes more important to think of nutritional values. The accompanying charts pro viae an estimate of vegetable 'efficiency' Table I gives the nutritional value per ounce of various vegetables. Vegetables contribute to all nutritional requiremen except Vitamin D, but their most im contributionsare to the b uirements of Vitamin A, Vi 1 and sometimes ca important as a cab in vegetables i n par ticular contribu


ha mnro A ; C - . , + ~ A

and pantothenic acid These nutritional val t c1 be absolutely correct; foods contain sl ightly different nutrients depending n how fresh they are, what time of day iev were picked, and how they were 'own. The values in Table I are mostly ?rived from McCance and Widdowson15 ie standard source. It is known th iriety of the plant grown affects t dtritional qualities, sometimes ver siignificantly; for example, a Ribsto ippin apple contains 30.60 mg of V i n C per 100 grams, while Gold elicious contains only 8.20 mg. irt of information is hard to'co l i t t l e work has been done in this area. rganic gardeners insist that their Ace has higher nutritional value t iemically fertilised produce. Thi --, --"., .,,-"", at although fertilisers boost the yi otatoes, for example, the wa ent of the potatoes i s much able 11 gives some suggested y a 10 foot row, and for 10 squar t of the plant, which takes into the distance between th ives some cultivation de commends how t o store t plant for winter, by methods 0th than freezing. Food can be bottl without special jars rf Porosan p ing skin or similar i s used to se Table 111 shows the amou nutrients per month provided

. -" .

-..."- ...

" 0

UNDERCURRENTS 9 r t of plants which spend the first few


bed, therefore they a up he full area for the full time. I f these crops are planted ou Beetroot 665, summer turnip 535, p6ta spinach 320, parsnip 256, peas 234, oni

Summer turnip 2690, lsummer spinach summer chard 800, summer cabbage 71 carrot 400, winter chard 400, parsnip 320.

Carrot 40,000, summer turnip 27,250, summer chard 17,625, sum spinach 15,150, kale 10,864, winter turnip 9,087, winter chard 8,81 broccoli 5,550, winter spinach 4329, lettuce 3,000

Summer turnip 2.01, summer spinach 1.6, butter peas 1.2, broad beans 1.0, summer cabbage 0. potato 0.6, summer chard 0.6, kale 0.6.

broccoli, leeks, brussels sprout inter cabbage) are planted out i y in June or July, then their p of growth could be shortened by 2-3 months for the purposes of the chart ovided that the ground they m o to has not been lying idle un ' so their nutrients per unit area month would be higher. Very e

turnipgreens and some do not. The urces and are on the I



to the horizonlal. which receve maxurn insolation a t that latitude 37.8 /mm2/day compared with 1 av on horizontal ground at nd i l seems reasonable that so

the soil well. These sort of thinns " arc nteresting, but more like hydroponics n natural growth. I suspect the soil uld need to be changed too frequently o make built-in wait panels much us

mental Commi

e method in Appe ption of free food size of household re, consumption p by one third to a ion of houses wit ore, output for ho

- -.-- .. .- - ...- . ....= - . .- . .. bout five inches deep, fou feet, filled with earth he1 icken wire. A layer of straw und

ettles in. This is in a greenh rowing 32 square feet of a!

i v Scientist, October 18th 1973, p. 187.

.M. Caborn

Microclimates, Endeavour, Januir

e Garden Controvers



e l l me everything i t s a y s .

s t e s t e d . I t is importan t o l e a r n how people diff

knowledge s o a s t o guide huma nent. We may thus i n some cas

:an separat snvironment

e d i t y from the how much peopl

on t o show how eventually this ty of eugenics can lead t o situations

fficers. The co

ense en

inferiority has been made by Firstly, Jen'sen and his supporter say, IQ tests measure something real education programmes which try eliminate environmental differenc have failed t o eliminate IQ differe

ear to be his best, as they a ics which are very difficult rstand. The pamphlet sho

the I'Q differences. Thirdly, this explanation is t o be found in t h iately it is reprinted in t h e U st such a campaign.

gibes, one may think, with magazine's commitment t o self-sufficiency and individual initiative). excention that I mentioned was The a pkve on bread-making by Susan Camphell in the December issue that completely misrepresents the current roversy about the merits o f 1 bread. To say the least, th' o u s indifference to the lik dices of the readers. It is a l y researched: organically meal flour is available as mically grown flour (fro tore, 229 Portobello Ro on W12). And the bread it makes icious. Like Which, Value Today







enomally-successful Psycholo US); a fulltime editorial staff of 9; a distribution by Smith's t o every corn of the land. The trouble is, it needs a

e issues has been

able of course. The main function of articles like this is to be a stimulus and advertisers but i f h e knows his a reassurance to who have never ~~~~~~-~~~~~~~~~~ ~- thme ~~~-~ his must be his main concern. N grown anything, and have no-one to ertisers are not much interested advise theni. Other articles, of varying le who live within their means. I quality. deal with ,ubjects from econunl1 lived within our means there ical cooking and home brewing t o how d be a slump. The function of ad sine is t o keen the wheels of industry rn The probably the sost-effective-thing you can d o is t o cut out draughts. T h e most expensive way IS t o fit double (or t :uts fuel bills by only coming on. outlay of hundreds So the January issue u k c s six payes does have other a d to-~~~~~~ tell us that mail-ordcr a n ~ r i n t sare a make it well worthwhi n p 011 if you buy them as investments. The article is amusing, and well resi-ari-hed but is there anyone not wci behind the rirs who Jidn'l tliink they were J -off? The essential message can be summed up in 60 words at the be n g of the article. The rest is so mu urnalistic polyfilla, something to pu between the ads. It has no place in a magazine that seriouslv tries to be use littletime for the p and coin collectin e art market: they seem to me pe ~~, -~~ ~


, 1





Value Today staff lack is an ideology some reason for outtine out the paper, at all. Our nroblim todav is more moral thaneconomic. W; are living at an awkward corner in world history, lo get rounci it we need something more than technical advice. VERDICT. Value Today is poor value for most Undercurrents readers. Ask



the ultimate in window insulation. ensuring drastically reduced fue bills and a better-than-ever level of warmth and comfort in you

up to one third! Co ield Sealed Unit Do azing , .. .is. usually .


BLE EMP the tertiary (services) sec

utchinson1Open University, 36 ,751,a set of 38 articles by eve

aspects. Man-Made Futures s be useful to anyone involve

memade Power

chnics and Human Culture to Cot ms and Policy Formatt sity Librarian in your

. Of the twent

UNDERCURRENTS 9 m of grass-roots-resp

Soviet Union or some African

velopment of capitalism.

produce some items t

esponsible for its

r m of internation 'on not, a s at u stem of warring d multinational c


m e of it in th

Conference wi hard t o get hold o

s-resnunsible soc

ary trend towards bi d bigger agricultnra

swer to everything. i s a precondition of

and and flock to s to run the facto and services of the modern economv. Dis~OSSCssion be peasantry wheth


readers - and provides a comme"1arv to reolace

lot t o be said for it; it' a starting ooint in a very eontemoorarv debate. The henc-

it's excellent material. Its limitations lie both in the

s e everything in the 1 eois city i s based on owever, sensible ting is what we n t Bookchin's tale

r e s s ' into which m

on, didn't work, and neve

a real help and aid has aced by the artificiality ial contract'- Bookcbin ase, not mine, and not t

breakdown of cities i s a

viouslv one immediate

eat event (say of the 1 ecade) have it all wrong. v fails. not because of a

ate '60s and here returns ome of the themes in Post

tionist and materialist t for such things in their ogy, but alternative tee gists, l e s s hopeful that science' will get us out of


. .

e Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise. We'd like

Already Published: No 1- Give this to E No 2: Refuse to vot

WILDCAT i s pi labour and depi to meet i t s eos subscriptions (I Subscribe-- fr'

"The Politics of Abortion" ion under the NHS a s a case of the structural 3i by the medical profession. ce and Society: The BAAS C incorporating radical ideas la of science and technology

and conservation A range of pub1


~b ULKS, outtne price 01 undercurrents just gonna have to go up from the next issue o 10) . Postage rates a r e increasi arch 17th by about 2p (40% of what UK copies, and by no less than 1 seas copies sent at printed pape ust can't stand increases like th led with the soaring costs of ever without doing something about dercurrents 10 will cost you 45 shops and newsagents, and subsc en out from No 10 onwards will .50 for six issues (by second class/ ail, anywhere). We will also, in an unas e to subsidise bookshop and newssta es, be putting up the cost of back nu


may toe some conso s o increasing the s i pages, which we hope ize of issue from now on. next issue will a1 e" with Resurgence 1 have all the regular dies, Reviews, DIY, irectory and so on) but in th s we will be jointly any different strands that seem ogether to make up a "movement new and better society ternative energy sour rol, alternative medicine, meditati s o on, and s o on. It'll be good: don'

about the is we would ing, either. Selling ires a certain amou effort, and we thin

But if you don't feel like being alesperson ,why not just take a pies round to your local news-

ly, and they won't pay you until

Terrorist Group Claims Theft of NATO Nuclear LONDON (AP) Sunday. Terrorists have threatened the destruction of a major European Airport with stolen atomic weapons, it was revealed here today. As troops and tanks moved into London's Heatlirow Airport in a m8ssive security exercise, the Belqian Government revealed that NATO weapons had been stolen from their base a t Duren, near Cologne. A communique issued today confirmed that the security precautions taken in central Europe f r o m December 26th onwards had followed the theft from this base. which is inside West British Home Secretary Mr Robert Carr, speaking a t a press conferce said that he had ordered the enactment of contingency plans l l n w- ma ~receint o f a letter a t NATO headauarters near Brussels e was 'unable t o comment o n the demands made in the letter. owever, he said that t h e letter, signed by a group calling itself the European Freedom Fighters', claimed responsibility for the theft threatened that a 'major European Airport would soon be desed' - - unless demands were met. discovered Holland every major airport is guarded by , The theft was avvarentlv .. five hours after it took place at 1 am. troops. local time on Christmas night. Although elite ' troops, were immediately sent to guard ing the Relnian. ..~. .~ Dutch and French frontiers. Bour , .. -#."'> .?. security sources believe that the group I airports, Leonardo da Vinci and Fiimimay have had sufficient time to cross cino, the latter the scene of last months' into any one of these countries, or poss- attack on an airliner when terrorists used ven to travel to Britain. One theory Soviet actively considered by NATO chiefs At t the weapons were smuggled out and a Brussels Airport two hours before and mak the theft was discovered. It is not, how- , Police ever. likelv that the weapon whn i s in~overall . - chitroc .~ " of the oneration. - - ~considered , or weapons were takenout of Europe. believes that a suicide attack on the air-











Employee Questioned One enlpioyee at the Belgian Army base,

he was a suspected

i can be fired from the shoulde

E -- n t r a n c e to L But the weapc

tons of TNT Thr of the bomb whi

is . piven. It is be states that three h


UC09 January-Februar y 1975  
UC09 January-Februar y 1975  

The magazine of radical science and alternative technology