UK Energy Policy Will Fail If Government Persists With Nuclear Fantasies

Tony Juniper, Jonathon Porritt and Charles Secrett and I wrote a letter to the Prime Minister on 12th March warning him that his plans for another generation of nuclear reactors are ill-conceived and doomed to failure.

To substantiate the broad arguments advanced in letter and accompanying note to the Prime Minister, we have produced a series of six supplementary Briefings. The final Briefing was released today and coincides with a Press Conference in London. Further, we have produced 10 Killer Facts on Nuclear. All of the Briefings, and the Press Release can be found below.

Why Nuclear Power makes No Sense for the UK:

A series of Briefings from Tom Burke, Tony Juniper, Jonathon Porritt and Charles Secrett
1) Subsidising the Nuclear Industry (25 March)
2) Investing in Nuclear: Current Concerns (4 April 2012)
3) The New Nuclear Industry (17 April)
4) The Wider Economic Impacts of Nuclear Power (20 April)
5) Why Nuclear Power is Not the Answer for Climate Change or Energy Security (27 April)
6) Nuclear Power: A Toxic Issue for the Coalition Government (2nd May)

Press Release:

Today, four of the UK’s most experienced environmentalists will argue that the UK’s energy policy is not only completely untenable, but puts the Coalition Government in an extremely fragile position.

Tom Burke, Tony Juniper, Jonathon Porritt and Charles Secrett wrote a letter to the Prime Minister on 13th March warning him the UK’s energy policy was already at risk – in particular because of an ill-judged fixation with bringing forward a new nuclear programme.

In the intervening weeks, those original words of warning have already been borne out by the decision on the part of RWE npower and E.ON UK to withdraw from the official bidding process to build ten new nuclear reactors in the UK. What’s left of the nuclear industry in the UK is in meltdown, including EDF, whose entire rationale is at risk following the success of Francoise Hollande in the first round of the French Presidential election.

At today’s press conference, the four former Directors of Friends of the Earth will issue a new call to the Prime Minister, as expressed by Tom Burke:

“It is most unfortunate that the Prime Minister has not found time to reply to our letter to him back in March. The truth is that much of what we warned about then has already started to become apparent – the Prime Minister has a duty to seize hold of this issue without further delay. Otherwise, the entire energy strategy for the UK will be put at risk.”

The last in a series of six supplementary Briefings, reinforcing the economic arguments against nuclear power will also be released today. This final Briefing, (‘Nuclear Power: A Toxic Issue for the Coalition Government’) highlights the risk to the Coalition Government in persisting with a strategy that cannot possibly deliver the outcomes that the Coalition Government is hoping to achieve.

Commenting on the fragility of the Coalition’s position, Jonathon Porritt said:

“The Lib Dems have already paid a very heavy price for their participation in the Coalition Government – including the complete reversal of their former opposition to nuclear power. As and when this nuclear power fantasy collapses – as it assuredly will – with it will go all the Government’s objectives on renewables, energy efficiency and the whole low-carbon economy. The Lib Dems will bear the brunt of the blame for this policy fiasco, inflicting further damage on its rapidly diminishing electoral prospects.”

The economic arguments – in terms of investor perspectives and wider economic considerations – are summarised in the fact sheet, Nuclear Power: 10 Killer Facts.

Charles Secrett said:

“Put prejudice aside and look at the evidence. Nuclear power cannot meet the UK’s energy needs, while other options can. Building 10 new nuclear stations will be a very dangerous waste of public money and time, and cause household and business energy bills to soar. Energy saving, renewable power and co-generation are the most efficient and cost-effective ways to generate clean electricity, while creating large numbers of jobs in all parts of the country.”

Tony Juniper said:

“Far from doing away with fossil fuels, the UK’s doomed nuclear ambitions could actually make things worse. By putting political weight behind nuclear power stations that won’t actually get built, attention is being taken away from renewable energy and energy efficiency. By the time the policy does fail, we won’t have renewable energy on the scale we could have done and as a result we will be forced to rely on fossil power sources. The message is simple: back nuclear and get gas”.
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For more information please contact: Anne Paintin, 01242 266 777, a.paintin@forumforthefuture.org

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