Government advisors reject nuclear power

REPORT: Nukes won't solve climate change or energy insecurity

GOVERNMENT advisors have rejected calls for new nuclear power stations in the UK – saying the dangers and costs outweigh any potential benefits in terms of combating climate change or guaranteeing future energy security.

“Today’s report makes it that much harder for the Government to sanction any new nuclear power stations in the UK – they are dirty, dangerous, expensive and unpopular, both with the public and  even with the Government’s own advisors,” said Green Party Euro-MP Caroline Lucas.

The Sustainable Development Commission (SDC), in its response to a Government public consultation and review of the UK’s energy needs, finds that both the economic and environmental cases for nuclear power are based on a whole range of uncertainties and speculation – and as such are not compelling.

Its report  ‘The role of nuclear in a low carbon economy’, published today, said nuclear power could provide some economic and environmental benefits – but these are uncertain and outweighed by the clear disadvantages of creating a long-term radioactive waste disposal problem, undermining energy
efficiency and international security, its long-term inflexibility and the uncertain economics surrounding the industry.

Dr Lucas, a Green Party MEP for South-East England and the Party’s Principal Speaker, said Greens welcomed the SDC’s report – and its conclusion that we should concentrate on energy efficiency and conservation measures.

“This report is based on a careful analysis of the costs and benefits of nuclear power – and it finds, simply, that the costs and dangers outweigh the benefits.”

Dr Lucas said: “It acknowledges that, at best, nuclear power could only reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a mere eight per cent – that’s not much more than could be cut overnight by regulating to prevent six per cent of UK electricity being used to power machines left on standby.

“A far greater impact on reducing CO2 emissions and securing our energy needs could be made through energy conservation: according to the EU’s own figures, for example, 40% of Europe’s existing primary demand for energy could be met through the implementation of energy efficiency measures using existing technologies.

“Nuclear energy is neither safe nor economically viable – quite the opposite. We simply can’t shy away from the need to reduce energy demand and increase electricity generation from renewable sources: delivering new jobs and improved economic efficiency as we do so.”

Last week the Green Party published its response to the Government’s consultation, its ‘Alternative Energy Review’, which warns of the prohibitive coasts of nuclear energy and, like the SDC, urges the government to reject calls for any new nuclear power stations to be built in the UK.

It proposes a range of alternative measures to combat emissions, and finds that market-based measures to reduce demand and increase renewable generation could reduce CO2 emissions by a factor of five more than fast-tracking new nuclear power stations, at a fraction of the cost.



March 2006

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