Monday, April 03, 2006

CIWEM and CofE come out against nuclear power

The influential Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) says that nuclear energy is not the answer to the UK's energy needs. It calls instead for the development of a long term strategy towards a carbon neutral economy.

In their new position statement, CIWEM emphasises that Britain could meet its climate change targets and growing energy demand without building new nuclear power stations.

Nick Reeves, Executive Director of CIWEM, said: "It may well be cheaper and easier to make the necessary savings in carbon dioxide through well targeted efficiency policies before building a new raft of nuclear power stations. Some renewables can now compete on price, and carry with them no stigmas of waste, contamination or an unwelcome legacy for future generations. We need a new approach to energy use that is rooted in environmental sustainability.”

CIWEM believes investment in new nuclear capacity could undermine the drive for greater energy efficiency in homes and businesses by focusing on meeting existing demand rather than trying to reduce it.

Massive investment in new nuclear infrastructure would also lock the UK into a centralised system to distribute electricity for the next 50 years, threatening the growth in microgeneration technologies such as small-scale wind turbines on people's houses.

Because of intergenerational as well as technical issues concerning management of nuclear waste, the wider carbon emissions of uranium extraction and processing, and a lack of clarity regarding the availability of economically extractable uranium reserves, CIWEM does not regard nuclear power as a sustainable solution.

In a statement, Nick Reeves said: “Nuclear is based on a finite resource, cumulatively polluting and perpetuates the current inefficient pattern of electricity generation."

In a separate development Church leaders have backed a new report that describes a low consumption, non-nuclear, energy strategy as a “moral imperative.”

The report, entitled 'Faith and Power', urges an energy strategy informed by Christian principles of wise stewardship, peacemaking, justice, love for neighbours and moderation in consumption.

Launched on March 30 by the leading church-based environmental organisation Christian Ecology Link, and backed publicly by the Arcbishop of Canterbury, the report states that these principles “require much greater attention to promoting energy efficiency and restraining consumer demand, a bold switch from using fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy and the phasing out of nuclear reactors in electricity generation.”


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