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UK energy policy is still weighed down by the nuclear dream

This post is by Jonathon Porritt, founder director of Forum for the Future. In March 2012, four former directors of Friends of the Earth (myself, Tom Burke, Charles Secrett and Tony Juniper) wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron to warn him that the pro-nuclear bias of his advisers across government posed a significant risk to the government’s ability to fashion a coherent energy policy………….

UK energy policy is still weighed down by the nuclear dream — Inside track

It’s depressing how much of the counter-briefing that we provided him with at that time would be as relevant for Boris Johnson today as it was, nine years ago, for David Cameron. That pro-nuclear bias ………

Using nuclear power still doesn’t make sense
It was this hopelessly inadequate articulation of future energy policy that persuaded me to revisit the case for nuclear power, to see if it makes any more sense now than it did back in March 2012. It doesn’t.

Indeed, many of the inherent problems about nuclear power (getting more and more expensive every year, ever greater construction delays, still no answers on nuclear waste, security problems, both physical and cyber, proliferation risks and so on) are more pronounced now than they’ve ever been.

This pro-nuclear bias is not just an historical aberration; it is arguably the principal reason why we haven’t a hope in hell of achieving the government’s new target of a 78 per cent reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases by 2035. The opportunity costs of keeping these nuclear dreams alive intensify every year, distracting us so damagingly from what we know we have to do: double down on renewables, bring energy efficiency right up the agenda of every sector of the economy, invest in storage and smart grid technologies, get serious about the 2030 target for banning the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles, and crack the heat conundrum by building the kind of supply chain that will ensure the installation not just of 600,000 heat pumps every year (the government’s target) but millions.

It’s all there: we can do this. But not if we’re still weighed down by today’s moribund nuclear industry.


May 8, 2021 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. A good post on the nuclear energy in the UK. Thank you 😊

    Comment by Sustain blog | May 8, 2021 | Reply

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