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Some Brits not very impressed with their government’s newbound love affair with nuclear power.

Nuclear energy push is not powered by sense  Readers fail to see the logic behind the government’s drive to go for the nuclear option to generate electricity

There is much about this government’s – and, to its shame, Labour’s – newfound love affair with nuclear power that makes no sense (Johnson announces aim for UK to get 25% of electricity from nuclear power, 21 March).

First, you cannot just turn off a nuclear power station. If we have 25% of our electricity generated by nuclear, then on days when all our needs can be met by renewables we will have to turn off 25% of our much cheaper renewable feed while using expensive, taxpayer-subsidised nuclear generation.

Second, we have no way of dealing with the mountains of dangerous high-level and intermediate-level waste that has been accruing since the 1950s. To generate more is sheer madness.

Third, nuclear power stations are vulnerable to the elements and to hostile attack – cyber, terrorist, state actors etc. Recent events in the Ukraine make this very real.

Fourth, the old argument about what we do when the wind isn’t blowing and the skies are overcast over the whole of the UK, which doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny now, falls away completely if we were to invest just a small amount of the taxpayer money that will go to the nuclear industry into research and development of electricity storage.

Finally, given the nuclear industry’s track record of bringing in plants well over budget, decades late, the proposed programme is not going to be realised until 2060 at the earliest. Why on earth are we contemplating it?
John French
Brockweir, Gloucestershire

Your report states that “electricity demand is expected to rise steadily in the next decade”. The same justification was used in 2006, when the Labour government first committed to further nuclear power stations. Based on the official forecasts issued in 2006, we should by now be consuming at least 15% more electricity than we were then.

But we are not. UK electricity consumption has in practice gone down by more than 15% since 2006. In the interim, no new nuclear power stations have been added to the system. It hasn’t collapsed, and is far less carbon-intensive.

Surely we aren’t getting fooled again by the same spurious rhetoric about endless consumption growth? In that immortal phrase of the 1970s: “Save it. You know it makes sense.”
Andrew Warren
Chairman, British Energy Efficiency Federatio

 The dash to fossil fuels is not the environmental disaster set out by António Guterres (Ukraine war threatens global heating goals, warns UN chief, 21 March). It is, at worst, the replacement of existing hydrocarbons purchased from Russia. In the longer term, it is clear that alternative renewable energy sources will displace fossil fuels and most countries will wish to do this as quickly as possible.

he government’s desire, supported by Labour, for increased nuclear power generation is bizarre. A wind turbine capable of producing 15MW can be installed offshore for £10m. Sizewell C is expected to cost £20bn and produce 3.2GW of electricity – this does not include decommissioning costs. To generate 3.2GW would need 214 turbines costing £3.2bn, albeit some money would need to be spent on storage capacity. The government plans to invest £1.7bn in Sizewell C. How is spending more than five times as much on a controversial power source that takes 10 years to build a good idea?
John Blanning

March 24, 2022 - Posted by | public opinion, UK

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