The Times, letters, October 19 2015

To slash and burn renewable investment for the sake of costly support for new nuclear plants is unwise

Sir, George Osborne assumes that energy demand will increase (“Nuclear deal with China is threat to UK security”, Oct 16) but he should know that, since 2005, energy use in the UK has fallen 18 per cent. He claims a new nuclear station at Hinkley is good value — but how can it contribute to affordability for consumers if it adds £17 billion to the deficit and imposes £2 billion a year on household bills to support Chinese and French state industries?

Osborne says he will sign a deal to build Hinkley, even though he knows Austria and Luxembourg have launched a legal challenge, claiming UK subsidies violate EU law. Furthermore, he is aware of “critical anomalies” in the French reactor planned for Hinkley. French regulators are checking “serious flaws” in the reactor’s steel housing. The results will not be known until late 2016. How can a decision safely be made before then?

UK low-carbon energy offers huge potential for job creation. To slash and burn renewable investment for the sake of costly support for new nuclear is, at the very least, unwise — and will lead to profound problems for the UK long after the chancellor has quit his watch.

Dr Paul Dorfman
The Energy Institute, University College London
Prof Keith Barnham
Imperial College London
Prof Andy Blowers
Open University
Prof Tom Burke
Imperial and University Colleges
Dr John Downer
University of Bristol
Prof David Elliott
Open University
Dr Ben Fairweather
De Montfort University
Prof Jeffrey Henderson
University of Bristol
Dr Phil Johnstone
University of Sussex
Prof Nic Lampkin
UK Organic Research Centre
Jeremy Leggett
Solarcentury and SolarAid
Dr David Lowry
Nuclear Research Consultant
Dr Stuart Parkinson
Scientists for Global Responsibility
Prof Benjamin K. Sovacool
Aarhus University
Dr Alan Terry
University of the West of England
Prof Stephen Thomas
University of Greenwich
Oliver Tickell
The Ecologist
Dr David Toke
University of Aberdeen
Prof Peter A Strachan
Robert Gordon University
Prof Gordon Walker
Lancaster University
Dr Matt Watson
University of Sheffield