I personally disagree to the Green party facilitating any promotion of Nuclear Power (re: your email below). Fossil fuel reserves are running out and according to the IPCC Report 2001 the release of greenhouse gases will have to be reduced by at least 60% by 2050 if ecosphere collapse is to be avoided. The challenge is to decarbonise energy production by using renewable energy. Nuclear Power uses as much fossil fuel as a normal gas power plant. Nuclear energy is based on uranium. Uranium reserves have been forecast to run out in less than 50 years (World Future Council 2007, pg 37).
A wind turbine can be installed in a week, whereas it takes between 5 to 15 years to construct a large-scale power plant, such as Nuclear power plant.
In the late 1980s, the UK Government introduced the Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation (NFFO), mainly to support nuclear power. The nuclear industry received £8 billion of NFFO funds, whereas less than ten per cent (£750 million) was invested in renewable energy. (Mayor London 2004, pg 89) Germany’s Renewable Energy Act has demonstrated that the macro-economic advantages of renewables can be realized through micro-economic incentives, such as a guaranteed grid-access and feed-in-tariff for every producer. (World Future Council 2007, pg 41).
The technology of Nuclear Fusion may not be developed within the next 50 years
Costs of fossil fuel and nuclear energy will inevitably rise as reserves run out.
Aswell as avoiding environmental damage, the use of renewables enhances energy security as dependence on fossil fuel imports is reduced.
Agenda 21 is a document that was adopted at Rio de Janeiro Summit 1992. It lists all the global development and environmental issues that exist. In virtually every case these problems can be traced to the use of fossil fuels or nuclear energy. Therefore, the core of the solution to the global ecological crisis is to switch to renewable energy. (World Future Council 2007, pg 49).
Shorter de-centralised energy chains possible with renewables, thereby reducing energy losses over the grid.
Fossil fuels supply chains enjoy and can require military protection,
Nuclear power requires massive amounts of cooling water at a time when there is an increasing shortage of global fresh water supplies. Nuclear accidents of the past and the future, and nuclear waste, contaminates our environment and threatens human life.
Nuclear waste requires a management solution that lasts for around 10,000 years. Is it responsible to leave this task to future generations ? The nuclear waste question is an unsolved problem with unforeseeable long-term costs.
OECD governments spent over $318 billion on researching and developing Nuclear Energy and only $22 billion on renewables. (World Future Council 2007, pg 46)
Utilising Nucelar as a stop-gap is a mistake as the cost of decomissioning nuclear and creating renewables to replace nuclear at a later date will be much more expensive than investing in renewables now.
Extract from FOE website below:
- Emits as much as much CO2 over the whole life-cycle from fuel mining to waste management and decommissioning as a modern gas-fired power plant.
- Is insanely expensive and wouldn’t survive without taxpayers’ subsidies.
- Risks serious accidents with radioactive release. There have been at least 22 since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.
- Still creates dangerous waste for many generations to come.
- Relies for fuel on uranium, the known reserves of which will run out in 50 years if nuclear energy production is maintained at current level.
- Risks nuclear proliferation, as we can’t present nuclear energy as the solution to energy demand and climate change and then seek to prevent Asian, African and Latin America countries developing it.