Nuclear’s dead horse flogged again
Reacting to the news that the UK government will guarantee high prices for nuclear electricity for decades to come just to get one new station built, Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland said:
“This price guarantee is a blank cheque that is likely to cost UK consumers more than £100 billion over the life of any new nuclear reactors. People are already worried about their fuel bills, adding a long-term nuclear subsidy at twice today’s prices is the last thing anyone needs.
“Nuclear is the ultimate unsustainable form of energy, leaving wastes which are dangerous for a thousand generations to come. Even if the nuclear industry could build new reactors on time and on budget, which of course they won’t, any new power from Hinkley Point would be far too little, too late to head off climate change.”
There are currently only four new reactors under construction in Europe and all of them were supposed to be generating electricity already. The Olkiluoto scheme in Finland is likely to open seven years late and cost nearly three times the original promised price. The Flamanville reactor in France is likely to open 4 years late and cost €8bn, more than twice the original price. Both of these are the same design proposed for Hinkley Point. Two reactors at Mochovce in Slovakia began and then stopped construction in 1987, restarting in 2009 but are now running 2 years late and nearly 40% over even the new price estimate.
Dr Dixon continued: “Instead of boosting the profits of French and Chinese companies, the UK government should be investing in energy efficiency and renewables at home. These are the only sure way to guarantee lower bills in the future, and will create jobs and export industries here.
“I am very grateful to be living in Scotland, a country which has turned its back on the nuclear pipedream and is rapidly heading for 100% renewable electricity. Unfortunately Scotland’s plans will be harder to deliver because the UK Government’s desperation to build new nuclear reactors and enthusiasm for illusory cheap gas are sending mixed messages to energy investors.”
Notes to Editors
1. Germany is phasing out nuclear, Italy has cancelled its planned new reactors and France is going to cut nuclear by a third.
2. Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 77 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups – covering every continent.