Thursday, November 24, 2005

Summary: Nuclear power or renewables?

Here is the Low Carbon Kid's handy summary of why we shouldn't support nuclear power and should support renewables

  • Renewables:
    • create more jobs than nuclear power

    • can be decentralised, and so are modular, cheaper, subject to local control

    • provide variety of source and technology and security of supply

    • give greater value for money

    • are not terrorist targets

    • can create exportable expertise to generate income for UKplc

    • are replicable throughout the world

    • are quicker to build

    • leave no waste legacy.

    • the fuel is free
  • If we go for nuclear it sends the wrong signal to the rest of the world. Many countries will all want nuclear power. And many of these are not as 'safe' as ours.

  • It would take literally thousands such stations to meet the world's energy demand in 2020.

  • Would you like the job of working in the uranium mines required to feed such a quantity?

  • Do you want to live in a world where a high level of security is required to police the supply routes and stations? Certainly this would not be the case with renewable energy

  • We've had enough wars over oil - do we want to have to go to war to maintain our uranium supplies?

  • As for short and middle-term energy security, any decision on nuclear power taken this year will take around 8-10 years to result in new nuclear juice feeding the grid. It will not solve immediate needs.

  • The International Atomic Energy Agency says the UK's EXISTING nuclear clean-up bill is £1000 per person.

  • The cost of just cleaning up all the EXISTING nuclear waste in the world could amount to $1 trillion in the long run.

  • In the whole world, there is only one deep geological site which has been authorised to store nuclear waste... in New Mexico.

  • It's this waste-management bit of the nuclear industry that hasn't been privatised in the UK - so although the government says no public money will be used to build new nuclear power stations, it will come out of our taxes, giving rise to a new definition for the term 'fuel poverty'.

  • Beware that when people say nuclear electricity is cheaper they're comparing like with like - ie the delivered cost (minus cost of grid, losses of conversion, etc., since enewable and CHP is often consumed locally.
But nuclear lobbyists are winning the day: despite all the hot air by politicians and policymakers, nuclear power will have the lion's share of EU funding in the next few years.

  • Nuclear funding under the EU's Euratom programme and the seventh framework program (FP7) will receive five times more than renewables and energy efficiency.

  • What's more, the Government is 'secretly' funding a new pro-nuclear research programme called "Making nuclear power more attractive: largest UK grant for nuclear energy research in 30 years looks at future energy needs", funded by £6.1 million from Research Councils UK, ie the Government.

We need to be told why funding for renewables is still so lamentably poor (eg, the recently announced desultory £30m over 3 years for the Low Carbon Buildings Programme which is LESS than the previous / current grants they replace - think how little this will buy) when public opinion consistently has supported renewables over coal and nuclear.

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