Once again the evidence shows that nuclear technology can never be 100% secure. The risks are so frightening that the conclusion is obvious: it is imperative to abandon nuclear energy, and to do so as quickly as possible. This is the first lesson of Fukushima, one which raises absolutely fundamentamental social and political questions, requiring a real social debate about an alternative to the capitalist model of infinite growth.
What has happened is entirely predictable: yet another major nuclear "accident". At the time of writing, it is not yet certain that it will take on the dimensions of a disaster similar to Chernobyl, but that is the direction in which things, alas, look set to evolve. But whether it develops into a major disaster or not, we are once again faced with evidence that the technology can never be 100% secure. The risks are so frightening that the conclusion is obvious: it is imperative to abandon nuclear energy, and to do so as quickly as possible. This is the first lesson of Fukushima, one which raises absolutely fundamental social and political questions, requiring a real debate throughout society about an alternative to the capitalist model of infinite growth.
Windscale in 1957, Three Mile Island in 1979, Chernobyl in 1986, Tokai Mura in 2000, and now Fukushima. The list of accidents at nuclear power plants continues to grow. It simply could not be otherwise and it is not necessary to be a doctor of nuclear physics to understand why.
A nuclear plant works somewhat in a similar way to a kettle, with the elements in a kettle corresponding to the fuel rods in a nuclear plant. If there is no water in the kettle and the elements heat up, there is a problem, and in much the same way the central fuel rods must be continuously submerged in water. The steam produced by the resulting boiling water turns turbines that generate electricity. The plant consumes large quantities of water, the circulation of which is ensured by pumps.
If the pumps fail, the water runs out and the overheated bars start to deteriorate. If water is not added quickly, the heat produced by the reaction in the bars is such that they melt and fall to the bottom of the tank (which corresponds to the chamber of a kettle). This tank is in turn enclosed in a double ring of security; we all recognise the outer sillouette of the reactor. If this does not withstand the intense heat of molten bars and it cracks, radioactivity is released into the environment, with fatal consequences.
The reaction that occurs in a power plant is a chain reaction: uranium nuclei are bombarded with neutrons, and when it absorbs a neutron, a uranium nucleus splits in two and releases a large amount of energy (nuclear fission) while also releasing more neutrons, and each of these can cause the fission of another uranium nucleus. Once the reaction starts, it continues all by itself. The only way to control and monitor the temperature is to insert between the fuel rods bars made of alloy that can absorb neutrons without causing fission. This can cool the core of the reactor. But this cooling takes some time, during which the fuel rods must remain bathed in water, otherwise they might overheat.
The proponents of nuclear power repeat tirelessly that the device is extremely safe, particularly because, in the case of failure of the mains supply, the pumps can be supplied with energy thanks to emergency generators. The accident in Fukushima shows that those assurances are not worth much: because of the earthquake, the stations have automatically triggered a chain reaction, as might be expected in such circumstances. There was therefore no more power to operate the pumps. The generators should have started automatically, but unfortunately they were out of order, drowned by the tsunami. The cooling water is insufficient, as the fuel rods were exposed from 1.8m to over three meters (for a total length of 3.71 meters). This overheating caused an overpressure and a chemical reaction (electrolysis of water cooling) which produced hydrogen. The technicians then released vapor to avoid the explosion of the tank, but hydrogen apparently then exploded in the reactor, causing the collapse of the dome of the building, and steam was released into the environment. This scenario was apparently repeated in a second reactor.
The distribution of freshwater having been interrupted by the tsunami, the technicians used the water from the nearby sea. Several American experts have said that this was typically an "act of desperation." According to them, it evokes the vain attempts to avoid the melting of the core of the reactor at Chernobyl, when employees of the plant and heroic volunteers poured sand and concrete onto the reactor, paying with their lives. Thhe level of radioactivity measured 80 km from Fukushima is already more than 400 times the permissible levels. Six brave Japanese journalists armed with Geiger counters visited Futaba Town Hall, located 2km from the plant and found that the radioactivity levels exceeded the measuring capacity of some of their devices! Currently, it is estimated that a Japanese citizen is receiving every hour a dose of radioactivity considered acceptable in one year.
As the French network "Sortir du nucléaire" said in a statement, "we are to believe that a dramatically high level of radioactivity in a wide area around the plant, including the health consequences does not have serious consequencers for the health". We should not believe the statements about immunity to the fallout: the precedent of Chernobyl showed that a radioactive cloud could contaminate vast regions. Everything depends on the force with which the particles are sent into the atmosphere. In the case of a very violent explosion, the radioactive elements may rocket to the altitude of jet streams, the strong winds that prevail at high altitudes. In that case, the fallout could affect areas far removed from Fukushima.
The radioactivity comes mainly from two elements: Iodine-131 and Cesium 137. Both are highly carcinogenic, but the former has a lifetime in the atmosphere of about eighty days, while the second remains radioactive for about 300 years. On Sunday March 13, more than 200,000 people were evacuated. The authorities decreed an exclusion zone of 20 km around the first reactor in Fukushima, and 10 km of the latter. The presence of Cesium 137 is particularly worrying.
Precise information is lacking: Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and the Japanese authorities are more than likely hiding a part of the truth. The two most worrying questions which arise are whether the fusion of the bars is controlled or if it continues, on the one hand, and also if the structure containing the tank will blow up. According to Ken Bergeron, a nuclear physicist who has worked on simulations of accidents in power plants, this structure "is certainly stronger than Chernobyl, but much less so than Three Mile Island. Specialists are not disguising their concern: "If they do not regain control of it all, we will move from partial melting to a full meltdown, it will be a total disaster," said one expert (Le Monde, March 13, 2011).
But the worst of all would be the meltdown of the core of the second reactor, which exploded on March 13. Indeed, the fuel is MOX, a mixture of depleted uranium oxide and plutonium 239. Plutonium 239 is in fact a waste recycling product of conventional uranium power plants. Its radioactivity is extremely high and its "half-life" (the number of years needed to reduce by half the level of radioactivity) is estimated at 24,000 years. The Japanese are familiar with this element and its fearsome consequences: the nuclear bomb dropped on Nagasaki at the end of World War II was based on Plutonium-239 ...
After the Chernobyl disaster, nuclear advocates have said that poor Soviet technology, poor safety standards and the bureaucratic nature of the system were the basis of the accident. If we are to believe them, nothing similar could occur to plants based on good capitalist technology, especially not in "democratic" countries where the legislature shall take all necessary security measures at all levels. Today we are seeing that these claims are not worth a damn.
Japan is a country of high technology. Fully aware of the seismic risk, the Japanese authorities have imposed strict standards for plant construction. The reactor 1 Fukushima even included a double safety device, with some generators supplied with fuel and others battery operated. Neither has done any good, because the most sophisticated technology and most stringent safety standards will never provide an absolute guarantee, given the possibility of natural disasters or possible criminal acts by insane terrorists (not to mention human error). We can reduce the risks of nuclear power, but we can not remove them entirely. If it is relatively small but the number of plants increases, as is the case now, the absolute risk may increase.
It is very important to make the point that this risk is unacceptable because it is of human origin, it is preventable, and it is the result of investment decisions made by small circles of people, focused on their profits without proper democratic consultation of the people. To write that "nuclear accidents (sic) in Japan are far from causting the loss of as many lives as the tsunami," as it said in Belgium’s Le Soir editorial (14 March), is to ignore the qualitative difference between a unavoidable natural disaster and completely preventable technological catastrophe. To add that "like any complex industrial process, energy production from the atom has a substantial risk" (ibid.) also ignores the specificity of the nuclear risk, which includes the fact that this technology has the potential to wipe the human race off the face of the earth. We must relentlessly hunt down and expose these types of excuses, which reflect the enormous pressure exerted at all levels by the lobby of the nuclear industry.
If specialists do not hide their utmost concern, policies flaunt their stupidity. Asked on the afternoon of March 12, the French Minister of Industry, Mr. Besson, said that what is happening in Fukushima is "a serious accident, not a catastrophe." To justify his own pro-nuclear policy, the British secretary of energy, Chris Huhne, found nothing better to say than to point out the weakness of the seismic risk in the UK, adding that it would draw lessons from what happens in the Land of the Rising Sun so that, ultimately, security will be even better... These same pitiful arguments are used with variations by all governments who have decided either to stay the course (France), or have been converted (Italy) or are challenging the policies of nuclear power which were established under the pressure of public opinion after Chernobyl (Germany, Belgium). Objectives: To prevent panic and thereby to prevent a new mobilization of the anti-nuclear movement from torpedoing the ambitious plans for nuclear development which exist on a global scale.
To call these arguments unconvincing would be something of an understatement. In Western Europe, in particular, fear is more than justified. In France, a leader in the field of nuclear energy, reactors do not meet seismic standards of reference. According to the Network "Sortir du nucléaire" EDF ieven went to the lengths of falsifying the seismic data to avoid having to recognize and invest at least 1.9 billion euros to bring the reactor up to safety standards. Most recently, the courts dismissed an application for closure of the nuclear Fessenheim (Alsace), the oldest French nuclear reactor, also situated in an area of high seismic risk. In Belgium, Doel and Tihange are designed to withstand earthquakes of magnitude 5.7 to 5.9 on the Richter scale. However, since the 14th century, these regions have experienced three earthquakes with a magnitude greater than 6.
It is also worth noting that there are no longer enough engineers with specialized training in power plant management, and the nuclear emergency plan only provides for evacuation of an area 10 km around a plant, which is totally inadequate. The prolongation of the active lives of the facilities is another concern. It now stands at in 50 years, whereas incidents are increasing in plants with only twenty years of existence. Thus, because of their age, nineteen of French reactors have unresolved anomalies in their relief systems of cooling ... the same that have failed in Japan. Etc., etc..
We have to abandon nuclear energy, as completely and as quickly as possible. This is perfectly possible technically, and it should be noted in passing that the efficiency of nuclear power is very poor (two thirds of the energy is dissipated as heat). The debate is primarily a political one, a debate society must have that ultimately poses a choice of civilization. Because here is the nub of the problem: we must phase out nuclear power and, simultaneously, abandon fossil fuels, the main cause of climate change. In just two generations, renewables must become our sole energy source.
However, the transition to renewables requires huge investments in energy efficient solutions, so sources of greenhouse gas emissions become more and more supplementary. In practice, energy transition is only possible if energy demand decreases dramatically, at least in developed capitalist countries. In Europe, this decrease should be about 50% by 2050. A reduction of this magnitude is not feasible without a significant reduction in material production and transportation. We must produce and carry less, otherwise the equation will not balance. This means that such a transition is impossible in the capitalist system, because the pursuit of profit under the whip of competition inevitably means growth, ie capital accumulation, which inevitably leads to an increasinng quantity of goods, putting increased pressure on resources.
This is why all the responses to the climate challenge presented by capitalists rely on sorcerer’s apprentice technology , of which nuclear is the flagship. The "bluemap" energy scenario of the International Energy Agency is telling in this regard: it proposes to triple the number of nuclear power stations by 2050, which would involve building a new gigawatt power plant every week. This is madness, pure and simple.
An alternative to this vicious system is more urgent than ever. It requires that we produce less, which means a radical reduction of working hours, and therefore a redistribution of wealth. It also involves collective ownership of energy and finance, because renewables are more expensive than other sources, and will remain so for twenty years at least. It demands planning at all levels, from local to global, in order to balance the rights of the South to development with the preservation of the ecological balance. It ultimately requires the realisation of the ecosocialist project, of a society producing for the satisfaction of real human needs, democratically determined, in accordance with the rhythms and the functioning of the ecosystem.
Without such an alternative, capitalist growth will always cause more disasters without providing for social needs. That is, ultimately, the terrible lesson of Fukushima.
The gravity of the situation is worsening by the hour at the site of the nuclear power station at Fukushima, in Japan. The managers of the installations are apparently no longer in control of the sequence of events. The risk is growing of a disaster as serious, indeed more serious, as that of Chernobyl.
The complex at Fukushima Daichi has six boiling water nuclear reactors designed by General Electric. The power of these reactors varies from 439 MW (reactor 1) to 1067 MW (reactor 6). The fuel for reactor 3 is MOX (a mixture of depleted uranium oxide and plutonium), the others function with uranium. The dates of entry into service stretch from March 1971 to October 1979. So they are old machines, generally more than twenty years old, and are increasingly showing signs of wear and tear leading to incidents. In addition to the reactors, the site comprises silos for storage of solid waste. The operator of the station, the Tepco group, is known for not providing complete and reliable information on the latter.
Reactors 5 and 6 were shut down before the earthquake. The risks seem limited here, but a slight increase in temperature was noted on Tuesday March 15. However, various serious accidents have affected the four other reactors: four hydrogen explosions, a fire, and three partial core meltdowns.
The problems began in reactor Number 1 on Tuesday March 16. It seems that the reactor core melted down by 70%, and that of reactor Number 2 by 33%, according to the operator of the power station (New York Times, March 15). The information on the core meltdown of reactor Number 3 is contradictory but, according to the Japanese government, the reactor vessel of this installation was damaged (Kyodo News, March 15).
According to the French ASN, "there is no doubt that there has been the beginning of a core meltdown on reactors 1 and 3, and it is undoubtedly also the case on reactor Number 2” (Le Monde March 16). The reactor vessel of reactor 2 would not appear to be sealed either (Le Monde, March 15). According to the IAEA, a hydrogen explosion was followed by a violent fire in reactor 4. Here also the reactor vessel was damaged, but this reactor was shut down during the tsunami, so the risk of radioactive leakage was less.
An accident also affected the waste fuel storage ponds. In these installations, as in the power station reactor vessels, the fuel rods need to be constantly cooled by a current of water. As there is no longer enough water, the temperature of the rods has risen to the point of bringing the remaining liquid to boiling point, and the excess pressure has opened a beach in the containment system (BBC News, March 15).
The heroic power station workers are currently sacrificing their lives (like the “liquidators” of Chernobyl before them), but they no longer control the situation. They have tried to cool the reactors by using sea water. This was a desperate operation whose possible consequences are unknown (since sea water contains a whole series of components liable to enter into reaction with those of the installations).
Failure. The temperature is such that in some installations (the pools notably) the workers can no longer get close. The attempt to pour water on the reactors by helicopter had to be abandoned as the radioactivity was too high. According to the Japanese safety agency, the dose rate (measure of radioactivity) at the entry to the site is 10 millisievert per hour (10 mSv/h), ten times the level acceptable in a year.
The Chernobyl disaster seems to be replicated before our eyes. The result could even be worse than in the Ukraine twenty five years ago. Indeed, in case of total meltdown of reactor number 3, the reactor vessel would probably break and the fuel in meltdown would spread in the containment system which would not hold. In the nightmare scenario, it would be no longer isotopes of iodine, caesium or even uranium which would be released into the environment, but rather Plutonium 239, which is the most dangerous of all radioactive elements. We would then enter an apocalyptic scenario of death in all the zones affected by radiation, the extent of these being according to the force and altitude with which the particles would be ejected into the environment.
Let us hope that we will be spared, the balance sheet is already horrible enough without this. But we are very conscious of the fact that this could happen and we draw the conclusion that it is necessary to put an end to nuclear power, totally and as quickly as possible. Not only civil nuclear power but also military nuclear power (the two sectors are inextricably linked). Mobilise en masse for this, everywhere, around the entire world. Get onto the streets, occupy symbolic places, and sign petitions. Nuclear power is the technology of the sorcerer’s apprentice. We should demonstrate our categorical rejection by all means possible, individually and collectively. We should create a wave of indignation and horror so that the powers that be will be obliged to bend to our will.
No credit should be granted to the governments. At worst, they claim that the cause of the Fukushima disaster – the most violent tsunami for around a millennium – is “exceptional”, thus unique, that earthquakes of this magnitude do not threaten other regions of the world and so on. This is the refrain of the French and British partisans of the atom, relayed by their political friends. As if other exceptional and thus unique causes (an air crash, a terrorist attack and so on) could not lead to other disasters in other regions!
At best, governments announce a verification of safety standards, or a freeze on investment, or a moratorium on decisions of extension of existing power stations, indeed even the closure of the most dilapidated installations. This is the line adopted most spectacularly by Angela Merkel, who has made a 180° turn on the question. The risk is great that in most cases this line seeks above all to quieten people down, without radically renouncing nuclear power.
Because capitalism cannot simply renounce nuclear energy in the short term. A system which is congenitally productivist cannot abandon the growth of material production, thus of increasing inroads on natural resources. The relative progress of efficiency in the use of these resources is real, but more than compensated by the absolute increase in production. Given the other threat which weighs –that of climate change, given the physical and political tensions (the revolutions in the Arab-Muslim world!) which weigh on the supply of fossil fuels, the question of energy is truly the squaring of the circle for this bulimic system.
Definitively, the only realistic solution is to dare for the impossible: to advance the perspective of a society which does not produce for profit but for the satisfaction of real human needs (not alienated by the commodity), democratically determined, in the prudent respect of natural limits and the functioning of ecosystems. A society where, basic needs being satisfied, human happiness will be measured against a yardstick of that which forms the substance of it: free time. Time to love, play, enjoy, dream, collaborate, create, learn.
The road to this indispensable alternative does not rely only on individuals carrying out in ecologically responsible behaviour (indispensable though such behaviour is), but on the collective and political struggle for ambitious but perfectly realisable demands, such as:
— the radical and collective reduction of working time, without loss of wages, with compensatory hiring and drastic reduction of speed of work. It is necessary to work less and produce less;
— the suppression of the incredible mass of useless or harmful production, aimed at artificially swelling markets (obsolescence of products), or to compensate for the human misery of our existence, or to repress those who revolt against the latter (the manufacture of arms). With reconversion of workers employed in these sectors;
— the nationalisation without compensation of the energy and finance sectors. Energy is a common good of humanity. Its collective reappropriation, breaking with the imperatives of profit, is the indispensable condition for an energy transition which is just, rational and rapid towards renewable sources. This transition will also demand considerable resources, which justifies amply the confiscation of the assets of the bankers, insurers and other capitalist parasites;
— the radical extension of the public sector (free quality public transport, public undertaking of housing insulation and so on) and an equally radical withdrawal from the commodity and from money: free basic goods like water, energy, bread, up to a level corresponding to a reasonable consumption.
Capitalism is a system of death. Fukushima should increase our desire for an eco-socialist society, the society of producers freely associated in the prudent and respectful management of our beautiful planet Earth. There is only one of them.
Daniel Tanuro, a certified agriculturalist and eco-socialist environmentalist, writes for “La gauche”, (the monthly of the LCR-SAP, Belgian section of the Fourth International).
Jaitapur’s French-built nuclear plant is a disaster in waiting, jeopardising biodiversity and local livelihoods. The global “nuclear renaissance” touted a decade ago has not materialised. The US’s nuclear industry remains starved of new reactor orders since 1973, and western Europe’s first reactor after Chernobyl (1986) is in serious trouble in Finland – 42 months behind schedule, 90% over budget, and in bitter litigation.
But India is forging ahead to create an artificial nuclear renaissance by quadrupling its nuclear capacity by 2020 and then tripling it by 2030 by pumping billions into reactor imports from France, Russia and America, and further subsidising the domestic Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL).
The first victim of this will be an extraordinarily precious ecosystem in the Konkan region of the mountain range that runs along India’s west coast. This is one of the world’s biodiversity “hotspots” and home to 6,000 species of flowering plants, mammals, birds and amphibians, including 325 threatened ones. It is the source of two major rivers. Botanists say it’s India’s richest area for endemic plants. With its magical combination of virgin rainforests, mountains and sea, it puts Goa in the shade.
NPCIL is planning to install six 1,650-MW reactors here, at Jaitapur in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district, based on the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) design of the French company Areva – the very same that’s in trouble in Finland. The government has forcibly acquired 2,300 acres under a colonial law, ignoring protests. As construction begins, mountains will be flattened, trees uprooted, harbours razed, and a flourishing farming, horticultural and fisheries economy destroyed, jeopardising 40,000 people’s survival.
To rationalise this ecocide, the government declared the area “barren”. This is a horrendous lie, says India’s best-known ecologist Madhav Gadgil, who heads the environment ministry’s expert panel on its ecology. As I discovered during a visit to Jaitapur, there’s hardly a patch of land that’s not green with paddy, legumes, cashew, pineapple and coconut. So rich are its fisheries that they pay workers three times the statutory minimum wage, a rarity in India.
Jaitapur’s villagers are literate. They know about Chernobyl, radiation, and the nuclear waste problem. They have seen films on injuries inflicted on villagers like them by Indian uranium mines and reactors – including cancers, congenital deformities and involuntary abortions. They don’t want the Jaitapur plant. Of the 2,275 families whose land was forcibly acquired, 95% have refused to collect compensation, including one job per family. The offer provokes derision, as does Indo-French “co-operation”. When Nicolas Sarkozy visited India to sell EPRs, Jaitapur saw the biggest demonstration against him [see below].
The EPR safety design hasn’t been approved by nuclear regulators anywhere. Finnish, British and French regulators have raised 3,000 safety issues including control, emergency-cooling and safe shutdown systems. A French government-appointed expert has recommended modifications to overcome the EPR’s problems. Modifications will raise its cost beyond €5.7bn. Its unit generation costs will be three times higher than those for wind or coal. India had a nightmarish experience with Enron, which built a white elephant power plant near Jaitapur, nearly bankrupting Maharashtra’s electricity board.
Jaitapur’s people are more concerned about being treated as sub-humans by the state, which has unleashed savage repression, including hundreds of arrests, illegal detentions and orders prohibiting peaceful assemblies. Eminent citizens keen to express solidarity with protesters were banned, including a former supreme court judge, the Communist party’s secretary and a former Navy chief. Gadgil too was prevented. A former high court judge was detained illegally for five days. Worse, a Maharashtra minister recently threatened that “outsiders” who visit Jaitapur wouldn’t be “allowed to come out” (alive).
This hasn’t broken the people’s resolve or resistance. They have launched their own forms of Gandhian non-cooperation and civil disobedience. Elected councillors from 10 villages have resigned. People boycotted a 18 January public hearing in Mumbai convened to clear “misconceptions” about nuclear power. They refused to hoist the national flag, as is traditionally done, on Republic Day (26 January). They have decided not to sell food to officials. When teachers were ordered to teach pupils about the safety of nuclear reactors, parents withdrew children from school for a week.
The peaceful campaign, with all its moral courage, hasn’t moved the government. It accepted an extraordinarily sloppy environmental assessment report on Jaitapur, which doesn’t consider biodiversity and nuclear safety, or even mention radioactive waste. It subverted the law on environment-related public hearings. It cleared the project six days before Sarkozy’s visit.
Why the haste? India’s nuclear establishment has persistently missed targets and delivered a fraction of the promised electricity – under 3% – with dubious safety. It was in dire straits till it conducted nuclear explosions in 1998, which raised its status within India’s national-chauvinist elite – and its budget. The major powers have “normalised” India’s nuclear weapons through special exceptions in global nuclear commerce rules. France used these to drive a bargain for cash-strapped Areva. Its counterpart is the disaster-in-waiting called Jaitapur.
Praful Bidwai Independent Journalist
Villagers, activists protest Nicolas Sarkozy-backed Jaitapur plant Published: Sunday, Dec 5, 2010, 3:20 IST
By Alok Deshpande | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Coinciding with the visit of French president Nicolas Sarkozy to India, thousands of people on Saturday staged a protest near Jaitapur, the site of the proposed one-trillion-rupee nuclear power project to be built in collaboration with France-based company Areva.
The state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) is expected to sign a deal with Areva in the coming days.
The protesters included environmentalists, villagers and farmers, from the coastal Ratnagiri district. Leaders like Arun Velaskar, were arrested at Madban, around 12km from Jaitapur. The police tried to lock the Bhagwati Temple in Madban, preventing the people from entering inside but eventually had to back down.
Supreme Court retired judge BJ Kolse-Patil was arrested in the Natye village near Madban, after which an angry mob vandalised the police van, injuring three policemen. The mob also targeted two buses used to arrest the protesting villagers. Others arrested included leaders of voluntary groups Konkan Bachao Andolan and Janahit Seva Samiti, which are spearheading the stir, the activists said, adding, the local fishing community also took part in the demonstration.
Greenpeace energy specialist Lauri Myllyvirta said that at least 10,000 people had turned out to protest. In Mumbai, a coalition of trade unions and NGOs has also planned protest.
According to the government, the final contracts are expected to be signed in the first half of 2011. There will be six reactors with a capacity of 1,650mw each. The first unit is expected to become operational by 2018.
The Konkan Bachao Andolan leaders, Velaskar, Madhu Mohite and Mangesh Chavan travelled from Mumbai to take part in the agitation. They will be produced before a court in Rajapur.
* From The Guardian, February 2011: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentis...