Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Why nuclear power is not the answer

Friends of the Earth: Press Releases: Why nuclear power is not the answer

Sep 28 2005

Following the Prime Minister's announcement at the Labour Party Conference that nuclear power must be considered as a way of tackling climate change, Friends of the Earth spelt out why it is not the solution.

There are more cost effective and far safer ways to reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions - the UK has a significant renewable energy resources.

The Government could show global leadership on developing renewable resources, rather than promoting nuclear power which would increase the risk of nuclear weapon proliferation around the world

Nuclear power is expensive and has consistently proved more expensive than industry claims. In 2003, the Cabinet Office estimated that nuclear power would cost more per KWh than either on-shore or off-shore wind.

Nuclear power does not necessarily offer substantial reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. Indeed doubling nuclear power generation in the UK would cut our carbon dioxide emissions by no more than eight per cent.

Nuclear power would not make the UK self-sufficient in energy so will not guarantee security of supply. It won't replace gas, which we will increasingly get from Norway and the Netherlands. Nor will it replace oil, with much of our imports coming from Norway. We have significant renewable sources, including biomass, with which we can produce all our electricity.

Nuclear power creates nuclear waste which poses a threat to public safety for generations to come because no solution has been found for its disposal. Management of the waste is also expensive.

Nuclear energy only produces electricity and will not replace petrol or diesel as a fuel for cars, lorries, ships and planes - road transport is currently the source of around 22 per cent of UK carbon dioxide emissions, and aviation is the fastest growing source of CO2 emissions

Nuclear power will not replace gas for heating our homes and for business - natural gas currently accounts for 33 per cent of our total final energy use [1].

Nuclear energy will not meet our short-term energy needs. Even if give the go-ahead, according to the nuclear industry, new nuclear power stations would not come on-line for an estimated 10-15 years [2].

Nuclear power has a poor safety record and is a potential target for terrorists.
Friends of the Earth Executive Director Tony Juniper said:

"Nuclear power is not a solution to climate change. It could only ever provide for a tiny proportion of our energy needs and this would be at great cost to the taxpayer, the environment and would pose a threat to the safety of the public. Clean technologies are available and they need the Government's support. Tony Blair must stop talking to the nuclear lobby and speed up investment low -carbon, renewable and efficient energy technologies."

Friends of the Earth's Big Ask campaign is calling on the UK Government to set legally binding targets to cut carbon dioxide emissions by three per cent each year. For more information see

Why nuclear power is not an achievable and safe answer to climate change (PDF†)

[1] (PDF†)



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