The Press has been full of speculation recently that Blair’s Government has decided to support the construction of new reactors as soon as the General Election is out of the way. A White Paper could set out the case for the construction of up to 10 new nuclear stations – the biggest nuclear programme since the 1960s. That is why we have decided it is time to act and have launched this website.
We shouldn’t allow this newspaper speculation to disable us by inducing panic. Tom Burke, former adviser to several Environment Ministers, says this is all part of an orchestrated campaign by the nuclear industry. There are still several daunting practical obstacles to reviving nuclear construction. Solving these problems, if indeed solutions exist, will take time. There is unlikely to be an announcement about new nuclear stations immediately after the election, but it could come in a year or two’s time. So, while it may not be time to panic, it is time to get organised.
Burke says, no-one has yet found a way to get reactors to burn uranium as effectively as they burn money, so much of the recent spin probably reflects a desire on the part of the industry to get its hands on taxpayers’ or consumers’ money. The industry is clearly hoping climate change will prove so important that it will provide the justification for some sort of subsidy.
If public money is going to have to be spent to drive carbon out of the economy, then any government is going to want the biggest carbon bang for its buck. Nuclear power is probably one of the least efficient ways of spending our money. Investment in energy efficiency typically displaces up to seven times the amount of carbon dioxide as investment in nuclear power. Over coming months this website will provide information on why nuclear power isn’t the answer to climate change.
There are many hurdles to a nuclear revival. The public, for example, is going to find it very hard to understand why, if the situation is so serious with regard to terrorism that we need to lock up suspects without trial, place people under house arrest, and admit evidence obtained under torture, the government appears to be willing to contemplate the creation of 10 more potential terrorist targets on British soil.
Over the coming months we hope this website will provide you with the well-referenced information you need to join the campaign against new nuclear stations, and the inspiration to actually take some action. Let’s work together to make sure the recent pro-nuclear campaign heralds the last final gasp of a dying industry, rather than a nuclear renaissance.