A new report from the Green Party makes a powerful case that nuclear power has no rationale in terms of either economics or helping the fight against dangerous climate change.
In Nuclear Power? No Point! the Green Party's spokesperson on trade and industry, Darren Johnson AM, reviews recent developments and argues that:
- Nuclear power provides less than 4% of UK energy - which is far less than could be saved by energy-efficiency measures that would cut people's fuel bills.
- New nuclear stations will not help the fight against climate change because major CO2 reductions are needed in the next ten years. New nuclear power stations could not be built fast enough.
- Massive investment in renewables could deliver the necessary short-term CO2 cuts - but "feeding cash to the nuclear delusion" could help starve the renewables industry of some of the investment and skilled personnel it needs to grow rapidly.
- The nuclear industry's current financial problems cast serious doubt on its ability to deliver new powerstations anyway.
Darren Johnson, who is currently chair of the London Assembly and Green Party candidate for Lewisham Deptford, said today:
"The industry that was going to produce electricity 'too cheap to meter' has landed us with massive costs for handling its dangerous waste. Now the nuclear industry can't even give us a reliable quote for the cost of a power station. The current projects in Finland and France are experiencing safety concerns, long delays and big overspends.
"There's no point expecting nuclear to solve the climate crisis, because new stations couldn't be built fast enough to help achieve the big CO2 reductions we need to make in the next ten years - which mature renewables could deliver.
"There is no point even considering nuclear power, because demand-reduction measures could easily save far more power than nuclear could generate. And the latest studies argue convincingly that green energy sources with a European smart grid could provide all the power we need."
Nuclear "offers nothing for the recession, and too few jobs per megawatt anyway"
In Nuclear Power? No Point! Mr Johnson also draws attention to nuclear power's poor jobs-per-megawatt ratio. He said today:
"We urgently need a Green New Deal to get us out of the recession and start building the sustainable economy of the twenty-first century. We could create hundreds of thousands of jobs in green energy in the next decade. Nuclear power can play no part in that because it takes far too long to build nuclear power stations compared with windfarms and other green measures. Wind energy sustains something like twelve times as many jobs per unit of power as nuclear does."