29
Sep
Chloe Roberts

Is it time to challenge our perceptions of nuclear power?

Posted by Chloe RobertsTagged , , , , ,

The UK has a long civil nuclear heritage dating back to the 1950s. But reputationally speaking, the industry has a tricky past. In the court of public opinion, it has proven unpopular. Despite being stringently regulated, it is viewed as high-risk thanks to the incredibly steep upfront costs of building power sites – take Sizewell C at £22 billion – and sites are slow to build and decommission.

When we hear the word nuclear, we almost instantly think of the events at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. HBO’s drama Chernobyl also reminded us of the volatility of nuclear plants. Some believe there were a million fatalities from a toxic plume that spread across Europe in April 1986, although the UN directly attributes only 43 deaths to the disaster.

In our more recent history, a catastrophic chain of natural events resulted in a back-up power supply failure to the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. A tsunami caused by an earthquake led to a radiation leak from the plant, forcing more than 150,000 people to evacuate from the area. There are a lot of mixed views about the impact of this leak, but the dominant reaction to it has been that of fear and uncertainty about the real human impact of such an event.

A slow shift in public discourse

It is hard to forget the past, and the words ‘nuclear’ and ‘disaster’ may be linked in public perception, in no small part because of disasters of the past and reporting in the media. But the tide is turning. According to billionaire philanthropist, technologist and climate change evangelist Bill Gates, nuclear energy is “absolutely” becoming politically palatable.

In a plan put forward last year, Boris Johnson’s government backed the development of “small and advanced reactors which would also lead to the creation of ten thousand jobs. The language around nuclear in the plan is noticeably cautious. What many may not know is that the UK currently generates 20 per cent of its electricity from nuclear – although almost half of current capacity is to be retired by 2025. There’s been a consistent decline in the amount of nuclear energy the UK generates since the 90s, mostly because of ageing plants. But things might swing the other way, or might need to, to manage the ongoing energy crisis.

Read more “Is it time to challenge our perceptions of nuclear power?”

14
Dec
Lucy Chapple

Slogan fatigue is diluting the government’s vital message

Posted by Lucy ChappleTagged , , ,

The Scottish government recently launched a new campaign – based on the FACTS acronym – to help curb the spread of Covid.

However, a poll for The Sunday Post has revealed 51% of 16 to 24-year-olds don’t know what any of the letters stands for and 81% are unable to name all five key messages, which, in case you were wondering, are; Face coverings in enclosed spaces; Avoid crowded places; Clean your hands regularly; Two-metre distancing; Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms.

Any good pub quiz includes an acronym round. This is because recalling the words behind common acronyms is notoriously hard to do. It’s perhaps surprising then that the Scottish Government chose a wordy five letter acronym to deliver what should be a relatively simple message to a highly engaged public about how to stay safe during the pandemic. Whilst not knowing what ‘NASA’ stands for could lose you points at a pub quiz, the public not grasping the meaning behind ‘FACTS’ is a significant failing with serious consequences.

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11
Oct
Hattie Hughes

Is a good speech enough for our party politicians?

Posted by Hattie HughesTagged , , ,

With the end of the SNP party conference on Tuesday, most of the major parties have had their time in the spotlight for this year. In both Manchester and Brighton, Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn had a lot to prove in their keynote speeches. Conferences consist of a vast range of events, from Russell Brand and Labour MPs discussing problem gambling, to a discussion at the Conservative conference on supporting Armed Forces children’s education, but the leaders’ speeches are always a key moment in the timetable. Not only do they offer a chance to speak directly to the party faithful, but also to reach the wider public and lay out plans for the future.

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08
May
Aga Maciejewska

The fight for fair probate

Posted by Aga MaciejewskaTagged , , , , ,

Probate. Perhaps not something you’re overly familiar with, but you may have noticed it’s been hitting the headlines recently, since the Government tried to push through proposals to significantly increase fees. For the past few months, it’s been keeping the Stand team very busy.

The client

SFE (Solicitors for the Elderly) is an independent, national membership of lawyers who provide specialist legal advice for older and vulnerable people, their families and carers. When it comes to older client law, SFE is the gold standard.

The probate debate

Probate is something most of us will have to deal with at some point in our lives. A grant of probate is an official document issued by the court, which allows family and loved ones to process estates and access the money and assets left to them by someone who has passed away.

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