Power to the people: decentralised energy not new nuclear plants

Posted by bex — 10 October 2005 at 8:00am - Comments

Solar panels in Germany

With the pressure on from the nuclear lobby to build a series of ten new reactors, the Environmental Audit Committee of the House of Commons is holding an inquiry into future electricity production in the UK. The inquiry, Keeping the Lights On: Nuclear Power, Renewables and Climate Change, is being seen by many as the preliminary to an expected energy review in early 2006 which might result in proposals for new nuclear power plants.

In detailed evidence to the Committee, Greenpeace has shown that a new reactor programme would:

  • be a multi-billion pound gamble on an untried and untested reactor design which could experience generic technical failures that disable the whole fleet;
  • add a massive 400% to the UK's stockpile of intensely hot,highly radioactive and long-lived spent nuclear fuel;
  • provide more targets for terrorists over the coming decades;
  • run the risk of major accidents in an untried reactor;
  • create 100,000 tonnes of depleted uranium waste as part of reactor fuel processing; and
  • take too long to build to reduce CO2 emissions in line with the Government's 2010 target.

Opinion polls show the majority of people oppose nuclear power. A new build programme would, for the above reasons (and many more) risk significant public opposition. Download part one of our submission to the Environmental Audit Committee (pdf) for more on these issues.

Greenpeace has also submitted evidence on the alternative measures that could be used to reduce CO2 emissions and provide electricity, through renewable and rapidly progressing low-cost, flexible decentralised energy systems. Download part two of our submission to the Environmental Audit Committee on these issues (pdf).

The Committee will hear oral evidence during October.

Find out more about nuclear power and climate change, proliferation, decommissioning and radioactive waste.

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