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The Socratic Club - 3rd April



Our final session of the Socratic club for this term focussed on the current Energy crisis facing Europe with an intensive look at nuclear and wind power.


The Junior Socratic club began by assessing whether the Government should be doing more to help people, particularly those suffering from fuel poverty.

100% voted in favour of more being done.


The background to the current crisis, from inflation, to sanctions and the War in Ukraine helped paint the picture of the problems facing the Government and the possible solutions available.


With the Government turning to nuclear power the group voted unanimously against that option.


1. This House would invest in more nuclear power plants?

Y: 0%

N: 100%


2. The House would be happy to live next to a nuclear power plant?

Y: 0%

N: 100%


It was clear that fear of nuclear waste and nuclear disasters from Chernobyl to Fukushima weighed heavily on the voting of the group and despite the obvious advantages of nuclear power - not least consistent reliable power - the potential risks outweighed the benefits in the eyes of the Junior Club.


Finally we turned to the debating motion:

'This House would invest in nuclear power rather than wind power'

1. Y: 0%; N: 100%

2. Y: 0%; N: 100%


Unsurprisingly the voting followed the votes of earlier discussions and the majority felt that wind power would be far preferable to nuclear - and the same feeling was felt for other renewable energy sources. The proposition fought an impressive rear-guard action in pointing out the failings of wind power - from the environmental issues impacting birds, to the waste from turbines that are as yet not recyclable.


By contrast with the Junior club - the Senior club saw more benefit in long-term planning and a strategic effort to match the nuclear power of France for instance, so as to avoid such fluctuations in energy pricing.


100% voted in favour of the Government doing more to help people; and 100% voted in favour of building more nuclear power stations.


The final motion was carried - although again no one wanted to live next to a nuclear power plant.


It was felt that the risk to the UK was there with 5 or 6 existing power stations, another set would hardly increase the problem once one accepted the presence of nuclear power in the first place. However, a preferred motion of a systematic strategy that combined nuclear with other powers was felt the most sensible solution to tackle the short term and long term. The weakness of short termism with Governments elected every 4-5 years was seen at the heart of the problem.


We were very impressed with the active listening and constructive nature of the argumentation shown in both club sessions - a terrific way to the end the term!


We much look forward to the forthcoming workshops over the holidays.

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