Letter Professor Simone Abram, director, Durham Energy Institute, Durham University: You report that the government is backing a new generation of nuclear reactors. The Nuclear Industry Association has managed to convince ministers (and your reporters) that its narrative about energy is the only one. It is not. Nuclear power remains expensive, relies on non-renewable imported fuel and creates a waste problem to which we have no solution. Worse, an electricity system based on renewables needs agile counterparts to respond rapidly to fluctuations in supply — which nuclear power is not suited to. The recipe for a sustainable energy system lies elsewhere, in reduced demand (energy efficiency), better storage (hydrogen storage will come online quicker than a new nuclear power station) and a focus on heat rather than power (the UK could be halfway towards self-sufficiency in heat if we used our low-grade geothermal stores effectively). All this needs an energy policy based on what we know now, not on what we knew in 1956, or even in 1976.
Times 3rd Oct 2021 read more »