For nuclear power to play a significant role globally in dealing with climate change we would have to build enough of it, quickly enough, to replace coal first and then gas in a very short space of time. You do not have to know very much about the engineering requirements of a nuclear power station, or our actual experience in constructing them, to think that this is akin to believing in unicorns. A relatively simple piece of arithmetic on the specialised resource requirements and the equally specialised engineering and project management skills of a nuclear programme, let alone required scale of public investment is enough to make it clear that a massive policy commitment to new nuclear power will not help the world stay below 2°C.What is the British Government up to? My guess it is looking for a lot more long grass as it seeks a way to get itself off the nuclear hook onto which it has impaled itself by listening to the lobbies and caring more about the headlines than the climate. As it does so, it will big up the importance of SMRs as a future option. Oddly enough, its concept of an SMR will bear a striking resemblance to a submarine propulsion reactor and we will build one somewhere on an existing nuclear site. Electricity consumers will indeed end up subsidising the defence budget and nuclear power will go on having a locally negative impact on the environment that outweighs any of its marginal environmental benefits.
Tom Burke 28th Nov 2018 read more »
The UK’s so-called ‘nuclear renaissance’ is once again in crisis. In November, it was announced that Toshiba were pulling out of investing in the new Moorside nuclear power station after years of expensive planning, for which British citizens will be paying for years to come. Meanwhile in Scotland (nuclear power is not being pursued and emissions are falling faster than elsewhere in the UK), 98 percent of final electricity demand was met by wind power alone in October. Just as the ‘atomic dream’ is rendered ever more clearly obsolete by renewables, UK Government nuclear enthusiasm intensifies. The UK has one of the most ambitious nuclear new build agendas in the world. The program was justified on the basis that it would produce power “significantly before 2025.” It was claimed “keeping the lights on” with nuclear, would be cheaper than renewables and require no subsidy. The first new nuclear station, Hinkley C, would be operating by Christmas 2017.
News Lens 22nd Nov 2018 read more »