Monday, March 12, 2012

Government ready to abandon nuclear newbuild, says protest group

The government is prepared to abandon its nuclear programme if there is sufficient opposition from the public, and has in place an alternative strategy which involves a stop-gap implementation of combined heat and power plants, Stop New Nuclear's spokesperson Camilla Berens told me today.

She claimed that Chris Huhne told her this last year, when he was energy secretary, at a meeting arranged by the organisation.

"He said the strategy was that to start with most of these CHP plants would be fuelled by conventional gas, which would be replaced over time by an increasing amount of zero carbon gas from anaerobic digestion," she said.

This would fill the energy gap until a sufficient amount of renewable electricity come online from other sources: offshore wind and marine.

She said that, "a decentralised approach with a broad mix of renewable and energy-efficient technologies can help reduce any future stresses brought about by foreign energy providers.

"Arguably, if the gas-fed CHP route is taken, it’s possible the Europe might be hit by a repeat of the kind of disruption caused by Russia’s dispute with the Ukraine in 2009. But the nuclear sector faces similar uncertainty.

"The world’s leading uranium producer is Kazakhstan – a nation that offers no greater reassurance of future energy security than its Russian neighbour. Meanwhile, the long-distance transportation of uranium from mines in Canada and Australia also presents risks in terms of accidents and terrorism," said Camilla.

A further alternative strategy, which again uses the Government's own figures, has been proposed in a report published earlier this month called A Corruption of Governance?, by the Association for the Conservation of Energy and pressure group Unlock Democracy.

This document also accuses the government of a pro-nuclear stitch-up, .

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