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[cdn-nucl-l] Nuclear energy's place usurped by wind and waves
Posted in the Guardian Unlimited on February 16, 2003 and at:
Completely out to lunch in the UK...
Nuclear energy's place usurped by wind and waves
Green revolution as Britain turns to renewable fuel
Sunday February 16, 2003
No more nuclear power stations will be built in the foreseeable future as
the Government turns to wind and wave energy to provide Britain's future
In a seismic shift in policy, Ministers have agreed to back renewable energy
as the best way of meeting the UK's targets to reduce carbon dioxide
The long-awaited energy white paper will plunge the nuclear industry into
fresh crisis by rejecting demands to build new plants.
Until now, government support for renewables has been patchy due to concern
that Britain would not meet its carbon emissions targets.
The white paper, which sets out the UK's future energy strategy, will be
unveiled by Patricia Hewitt, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry,
later this month.
Sources who have seen its final draft - agreed by cabinet Ministers last
week - confirmed that nuclear power had been superseded by renewables as the
Government's preferred way of providing power in the future.
'What is clear is that the Government does not want to build a new
generation of nuclear power stations if renewables and energy efficiency can
deliver,' said one.
However, plans to produce a fifth of the UK's electricity from renewable
sources by 2020 have been controversially abandoned.
The nuclear industry had wanted to build another 10 stations; however,
Ministers are increasingly concerned about their potential as a terrorist
target and safety concerns persist on the reprocessing of nuclear waste.
Confidence in the nuclear industry has failed to recover since the £650
million bail-out of British Energy, the privatised nuclear power generator,
underlined concerns over its long-term viability.
The future of the nuclear industry will be reviewed in 2005 alongside plans
for a major increase in funding to the renewable sector.
However, sources said the next two years would be spent examining
improvements in 'green' technology in order to create a watertight case
against expanding nuclear power plants.
Bryony Worthington, energy expert for Friends of the Earth, said: 'We are
delighted that the white paper has rejected the nuclear industry's calls for
In addition to pledging support for wind and wave energy, the white paper
will also place heavy emphasis on reducing carbon dioxide emissions through
The preferred option is to reduce heat lost in homes through boilers and
heating systems with a campaign to encourage homeowners to install better
A European-wide cap on carbon emissions from coal-fired power stations will
be brought in during 2005.
Environmentalists also welcomed the fact that demands by the nuclear
industry to help build a new generation of nuclear plants by streamlining
planning policy had been ignored.
The white paper also represents a major snub to the national academy of
sciences, which has urged the government to end its self-imposed moratorium
on building nuclear power stations.
Defence analysts have warned that nuclear power stations remain a key - and
vulnerable - terrorist target.
A report by the influential thinktank close to New Labour, the IPPR,
suggested a plane flown into the intermediate level waste stores at
Sellafield could lead to 30,000 deaths within two days.