Monday, March 06, 2006

Sustainable Development Commission's five major disadvantages to nuclear power

Nuclear power is not the answer to tackling climate change or security of supply, according to the Sustainable Development Commission, which the government set up to keep an eye on its sustainability performance.

Based on eight new research papers, the SDC report gives a balanced examination of the pros and cons of nuclear power and confirms what the Low Carbon Kid has been saying all along.

It identifies five major disadvantages to nuclear power:
  1. Long-term waste - no long term solutions are yet available, let alone acceptable to the general public; it is impossible to guarantee safety over the long-term disposal of waste.
  2. Cost - the economics of nuclear new-build are highly uncertain. There is little, if any, justification for public subsidy, but if estimated costs escalate, there's a clear risk that the taxpayer will be have to pick up the tab.
  3. Inflexibility - nuclear would lock the UK into a centralised distribution system for the next 50 years, at exactly the time when opportunities for micro-generation and local distribution network are stronger than ever.
  4. Undermining energy efficiency - a new nuclear programme would give out the wrong signal to consumers and businesses, implying that a major technological fix is all that's required, weakening the urgent action needed on energy efficiency.
  5. International security - if the UK brings forward a new nuclear power programme, legally we cannot deny other countries the same technology (Under the terms of the Framework Convention on Climate Change). With lower safety standards, they run higher risks of accidents, radiation exposure, proliferation and terrorist attacks.

On balance, the SDC finds that these problems outweigh the advantages of nuclear.

>> Sustainable Development Commission

Technorati Tags: ; ; ; ; ;

No comments: