Thursday, 16 May 2019

Nuclear white elephant is trampling on Labour's progressive energy policy

Letter sent to the Morning Star newspaper:
Labour’s new green energy plans are to be welcomed, with one very important caveat (“Heating will be a human right under Labour”;  and “Star Comment" ttps://;May 16).

In his excellent accompanying article (“Climate Jesus verses the Pharisees”;,  former Labour MP and now energy and environmental advisor to Labour's shadow Treasury team - Alan Simpson,  points out climate change is the unnoticed elephant in the political choices room. And within the climate change debate, Labour’ continued support for taxpayer-subsidised, very expensive and unnecessary nuclear power, is the white elephant within the elephant!

In launching the new Labour energy policy, shadow  energy secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, rightly argued that customers have  been “ripped off” by high energy prices paying for the big profits of the privatised energy companies.(

Yet in backing new nuclear power plants at Hinkley C and Moorside near Sellafield, Labour are supporting guaranteed power prices being paid to future nuclear plant operators, which will be at least double the cost of electricity  produced from a range of renewables, including on and off-shore wind. The poor will asked to pay and be the losers.

Why? Labour has mistakenly bought the fake news propaganda from the nuclear industry that nuclear is good for combatting climate change because it is low or even zero-carbon emitting. But it isn’t!
 Recent and comprehensive Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) of greenhouse gas emissions from differing power generation technologies by Mark Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University - and director of its Atmosphere/Energy Program - have indicated that nuclear CO2 emissions are between 10 to 18 times greater than those from renewables.

 In a newly completed chapter in a forthcoming energy book (“Evaluation of Nuclear Power as a Proposed Solution to Global Warming, Air Pollution, and Energy Security” in 100% Clean, Renewable Energy and Storage for Everything [Textbook in Preparation]


“There is no such thing as a zero- or close-to-zero emission nuclear power plant. Even existing plants emit due to the continuous mining and refining of uranium needed for the plant. However, all plants also emit 4.4 g-CO2e/kWh from the water vapor and heat they release. This contrasts with solar panels and wind turbines, which reduce heat or water vapor fluxes to the air by about 2.2 g-CO2e/kWh for a net difference from this factor alone of 6.6 g-CO2e/kWh.


“Overall,” he concludes, “emissions from new nuclear are 78 to178 g-CO2/kWH,  not close to 0.”


Aside from this essential climate change fact, nuclear power supporters also overlook the following significant problems with nuclear: the negative costs of radioactive waste management, vulnerability of coastal locations to flooding and storms, the very difficult challenges of security protection against terrorism, catastrophic accident potential  and persistent links to nuclear weapons and proliferation.


Wake up Rebecca!



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