Chris Huhne, currently giving his speech to conference:
I say again there will be no subsidy to nuclear, for a very clear reason: it is a mature technology, not an infant needing nurture. Every person in my department has a very clear motivation to ensure that the full costs of nuclear – present and future – are fully taken into account. More than half our budget – £1.7bn a year – goes on the clean-up costs of old nuclear facilities. Britain had artificially cheap nuclear electricity for decades.
While I was on holiday in Wales, I met a camper in the caff doing his crossword, and in the conversation that ensued after I filled in “fast growing asian weed (5)” as KUDZU, he told me worked for the government monitoring nuclear pollution in our seas. His job involved cutting up mutated flatfish to work out how old they are. Their eye positioning is apparently particularly susceptible to nuclear pollution and they have rings in their fishy ears that show their age like tree rings.
The last thing he told me was – never go to Dounreay. A dog allowed to run free on the beach died from nuclear related death within six months.
I have no idea whether this guy was someone to take seriously – it all sounds a little unlikely, and I have often been mocked in the past for my scientific ignorance. But Dounreay beach is not at the top of my to-visit list.