10 January 2008

Gordon Brown Goes Nuclear

Myself and John Verdult (Coventry FoE) have jointly sent a letter to the Coventry Telegraph on nuclear power:

We condemn government plans for a new generation of nuclear power stations. Nuclear energy is only carbon neutral when you use high-grade uranium. With countries (such as India, China, Russia and Japan) building dozens of reactors, the world’s high-grade uranium may last only 12 years. Carbon emissions also happen when you mine, process and transport uranium. The UK already has a stockpile of 100 000 tonnes of nuclear waste. We will need to spend £75 billion to build huge underground concrete storage bunkers for our current waste and maintain them for ten thousand years. Gordon Brown repeatedly frames his policy choices as "the difficult long-term decisions, even if at times it may be easier to do simpler or less difficult things." On nuclear power, the hard thing to do would be to oppose the nuclear power lobby, as well as the oil, gas and coal lobbies, and do what Germany has done and stand behind a policy to support renewable power on a nationwide level.
Peter Tatchell has a good column in the Guardian today:

If nuclear power is so economic, why have no nuclear plants been built in the UK in the last two decades? The truth is that no nuclear generators have ever been built without public subsidy.

When the prime minister says expanded nuclear power is essential to meet an expected energy deficit, and cut carbon emissions and global warming, he is badly misinformed and seriously mistaken. There are other - cheaper, faster and safer - ways to remedy these problems, such as energy conservation and renewable sources like wind, wave, tidal, hydro, geo-thermal and solar power.

Even if the green light is given to nuclear this year, the earliest the new reactors will be completed and start delivering electricity is 2021 to 2025 - well beyond 2015 when the government says the UK will be hit by the energy shortages that it claims nuclear is necessary to remedy. The truth is this: even if you love nuclear, it is too little, too late.

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