Thursday, 4 July 2019

Nuclear is not low carbon, however often its cheerleaders repeat it!

Letter sent to the Daily Telegraph:

Your Business section article (“UK’s nuclear drive must be powered-up, warns CBI,” June 28) records how business lobby group , the Confederation of British Industry- is calling for electricity-bill payer subsidies nuclear power capacity to help meet  the British  2050 zero carbon emissions targets.


The CBI bases its argument on the belief that nuclear electricity is low carbon. But it isn’t!


Their argument is presented by CBI chief economist, Rain Newton-Smith, who used to be a China specialist in emerging markets at Oxford Economics, but sh e has no particular expertise in energy analysis.(


She, and ministers, should examine the recently released (June 15) paper “Evaluation of Nuclear Power as a Proposed Solution to Global Warming, Air Pollution, and Energy Security” by Mark Z. Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, and director of the prestigious university’s Atmosphere/Energy Program, and a former advisor to the US Energy Secretary on his Energy Efficiency and Renewables advisory committee.


He explains thatThere 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.”


He concludes that nuclear power “produces 9 to 37 times the emissions per kWh (kilowatt hour) as wind.”


I find it worrying that one of the UK business’ key lobbyists can be so ill-informed on energy issues, and base a key policy on a demonstrable fallacy.