The UK and Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities expressed "dismay" yesterday at the Government’s announcement to develop as many as 15 new nuclear power stations.
They said it was a "missed opportunity" to develop more sustainable renewable energy alternatives. They pointed out that as recently as 2003, the Government had proposed in a White Paper that nuclear power had no part to play in a future energy mix.
The announcement was made by the Climate Change and Energy Minister, Ed Miliband. The Nuclear Free Local Authorities agreed that a good energy mix was vital for the UK, but said that could be achieved by a major expansion of different forms of renewable energy – wind, tidal, CHP and solar – coupled with a more concerted policy of energy efficiency and the promotion of a greater amount of micro-generation projects.
Other countries such as Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Germany and Spain have taken such a course.
They point out that nuclear power has several basic problems including the safety design of new reactors and heavy set-up costs. Experience suggests that new nuclear power stations often take much longer to build at a time when the pressing needs of climate change mitigation requires a swifter alternative. The radioactive waste legacy has still not been dealt with.
The Authorities say they plan to make a detailed submission both to the national energy policy statements and to the Minister’s ‘justification’ response as required by European law.
NFLA Chair, Bailie George Regan said: “It is disappointing that the Government has decided to go ahead with a new generation of nuclear power stations. Renewable energy is an obvious and safer alternative and being developed successfully and to required quantities in Ireland and in Scotland. The NFLA will provide a detailed critique in our response to Government and urge all Councils to do likewise, particularly in challenging the new, undemocratic planning process for new nuclear build.”