Both the last Labour Government and our current Tory-led coalition seem to be in favour of building new nuclear power stations; much of the UK media, public opinion and even some environmentalists such as Mark Lynas and James Lovelock have come out in favour. I remain firmly against.
The current government thinks that nuclear power stations will be built by private companies without massive state subsidies, and yet so far no nuclear power station anywhere in the world has ever been built based on market criteria, and it is highly unlikely to be the case for the foreseeable future. Usually it is states trying to prove their prowess as “modern” and wanting the fissile material for bombs. Nuclear power is rapidly becoming obsolete rather than modern.
Last week Amory Lovins presented the case against nuclear and for efficiency and renewables to Chris Huhne and DECC (Department for Energy & Climate Change). See Jonathon Porritt’s blog http://www.forumforthefuture.org/blog/chris-huhnes-nuclear-test As the graph above shows micropower (renewables, excluding big hydro) is on the up, increasing from 13% to 18% of global electricity production over the last decade, while nuclear has decreased from 17% to 13% over the same period. Over the coming decade renewables look set to grow considerably more rapidly: Photovoltaics in USA are on course to grow by 156% in 2010, China has achieved over 100% year on year growth in wind power for several years and the deployment of CSP (Concentrating Solar Power) in Andalusia, Spain, over the past couple of years has been inspirational. The market certainly seems to prefer renewables to nuclear. Amory Lovins made the case in 2008: http://www.rmi.org/rmi/Library/E08-04_ForgetNuclear The case for renewables has grown stronger since then.
Meeting humanities power needs with 100% renewables looks to me increasingly achievable, economic and beneficial. We’ll do electricity first; then heating and transport. With greater government support and increased community ownership the possibilities are tremendous! Nuclear power remains unnecessary, risky and uneconomic.