Tuesday, April 18, 2006

MPs slam Energy Review

An influential body of MPs has said that a new generation of nuclear power stations cannot solve our energy supply problems in the short term and crucial questions of security, cost and effectiveness remain unanswered.

The cross-party parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee's report 'Keeping the lights on: Nuclear, Renewables and Climate Change' warns that "The Government must be far more imaginative and radical in pursuing the twin goals of the Energy White Paper - energy efficiency and renewables. The last three years since the White Paper have been something of a wasted opportunity."

It raises concerns over the risk of terrorist attacks and the full costs of nuclear generation, which could crowd out other new energy sources. "You cannot claim nuclear is the answer to problems of supply in the gas market [in the next few years] ... Nuclear power couldn't appear over that sort of timescale".

The MPs complained about the lack of transparency in the Review, and a lack of "due process of monitoring and accountability", adding "If the Energy Review is focussed mainly on electricity generation and, in particular, a decision on nuclear, then it is unclear what the nature of such a decision could be and the Secretary of State himself was unable to explain this." Surely, they say, it's up to a liberalised energy market to decide on the fuel mix?

They conclude by calling for a return of the aims aspired to in 2003's Energy White Paper.

The Low Carbon Kid says these MPs are clearly unreconstructed and off-message. Blair will no doubt treat them with the contempt he feels they deserve.

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mel starrs said...


Saw this and thought of you. Do you have a del.icio.us account? In future I could post links for you directly there. Enjoying your site, even if I haven't made up my mind as to which side of the fence I sit.


David T said...

Dear Mel

Thanks for this. It's odd to see Patrick Moore sit down with James Lovelock in opposition to all his old Greenpeace colleagues and most of the environmental movement.

I saw the documentary The End of Suburbia on Peak Oil the other night. Have you seen it?

It's America's copious addiction to oil which is the problem. The documentary examined whether nuclear power could replace oil and continue business as usual.

It said no. Why?

There isn't enough uranium. Do you understand that? You build 400 nuclear power stations and it will all be gone in 30 years. Nuclear is a dead-end technology.

And renewables are not intermittent. This blog has recently cited two separate independent academic studies on the problem which both dispel that myth.

Although the wind may stop somewhere and the sun not shine somewhere else, just 10% of overcapacity is required on a national scale to solve this problem. Nuclear power stations themselves have that much downtime for faults and maintenance.


Is there something in this which is, maybe, too obvious to understand? Too easy to do? What is it about nuclear that attracts some people? The thrill of playing with fire?

By the way, I don't know about del.icio.us accounts. Enlighten me?