Dr Margaret Kadiri – teaching fellow in physical geography at King’s College London. Renewable not nuclear power is the future of green energy in the UK. As well as being less risky, more cost-effective and helping to create jobs, renewable energy solutions deliver a better result for the environment. For example, the life cycle of greenhouse emissions per unit of electricity generated from low-carbon sources are higher for nuclear power compared to renewables such as hydropower at near zero. Unlike renewable energy technologies, nuclear power stations are prone to accidents which can have widespread negative health and environmental impacts, requiring the costly implementation of extended remediation measures. Another concern with the government’s decision is the high £20bn cost of the proposed nuclear power station. This is particularly worrying given the proposed power station relies on an unproven nuclear reactor design, making it risky as well as expensive from an economic standpoint. In addition, the cost of installation and maintenance of mature renewable energy technologies such as offshore wind and solar energy has decreased significantly in recent decades. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, the cost of these renewables continues on a downward trajectory and are now most frequently the cheapest source of energy generation, weakening the case for nuclear power.
Independent 16th Dec 2020 read more »
The release of the much-anticipated Government energy white paper has been hailed as indicative of a “revolution” in thinking on nuclear power, and has been welcomed as significant news for Cumbria. The white paper, published on Monday, will serve as a guiding strategic document for the development of Government strategy on energy production in the UK. Positive progress on the Sizewell C project would most likely result in a more confident outlook on considerations of investment in a new nuclear power plant in Cumbria. On top of this, the white paper included support for the development of new nuclear technologies – small modular reactors and advanced modular reactors, with a commitment of up to £385m in funding for their development, hoped for by the early 2030s. The paper also indicates an ambition for the UK to develop the world’s first commercially viable fusion power plant by 2040. This is something that has been recently suggested could be sited in Cumbria: The Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership has recently launched a bid to determine where such a plant could be located in the county. MP for Copeland, Trudy Harrison, said that the white paper set out an “ambitious direction” for a “revolution” in Government thinking on nuclear power – and that the document places a “massive focus” on the sector.
News & Star 16th Dec 2020 read more »