Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Nuclear's negative carbon contribution

Letter sent on 21 April
Your editorial http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/20/guardian-view-britain-choice-2015-energy-policy  (“The Guardian view on Britain’s 2015 choice: energy policy,” 21 April) contains lot of sense. However it also contains some nonsense on nuclear power, for which you assert “there is a decent case” in proposing “The deal with EDF on the new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point is the most significant single contribution to meeting the targets for a decarbonised energy supply."
The day before, Labour published its own ‘Green Plan’, in which it stated - in agreement with the Guardian:  “Labour also supports the development of new nuclear in the UK as part of a more balanced, secure and low--carbon energy supply for the future.”  (https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/labourclp328/pages/339/attachments/original/1429517150/150419_Labour_Green_Plan.pdf?1429517150)
The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats make strikingly similar arguments. All are wrong!
Nearly ten years ago you published an article from me explaining how and why nuclear power is not low carbon, primariliy due to the high carbon footprint of uranium mining, milling and the very energy-intensive enrichment to make the uranium suitable for manufacture into nuclear fuel ("There is nothing green about Blair's nuclear dream, 20 October 2005, http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2005/oct/20/greenpolitics.world).

A month ago your environment  reporter, Arthur Neslen, revealed in an exclusive piece on line ( "UK joins Romanian push for new EU nuclear aid package," Guardian, 5  March,
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/mar/04/uk-joins-romanian-push-for-new-eu-nuclear-aid-packagethathte  the UK Conservative–Lib.Dem coalition Government had signed up to a lobby letter - with seven other EU countries -  calling on the European commission for increased nuclear aid funding, in which the signatory states misleadingly described nuclear-generated electricity as “carbon-free electricity.”
This is an important policy debate. But it should be conducted with facts, not fact-free propaganda from nuclear proponents.

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