New Nuclear Is Not A Climate Policy

The rumour mill about the propsects for new Nuclear Power is quite active, a kind of underground semaphore.

About a year ago, the idea that the United Kingdom would be burdened with eleven new Nuclear Power stations entered the mill and popped out all over the shop, being greeted with ridicule, dismissiveness, anger and despair.

When the Energy Supply companies started going into “free capital” meltdown over new investments, owing to issues concerning insurance and the general Economy, there was concern that they wouldn’t come along with the new Nuclear plan.

The Government kept pumping out the information that we should have at least four new Nuclear Power stations. How critical this project was ! How bright and shiny new Nuclear would be ! The unwritten back room understanding that any new Nuclear Power plant could expect State support in one form or another. However, the public statements were that there would be no Public Money for new Nuclear build.

And then there were two. The general consensus of the reports of this week’s pre-announcement of new Nuclear funding, by Government, some time next month, was that there would be two new Nuclear plants.

This new Nuclear drive is not a Climate Change policy.

The alternative to two new Nuclear power plants would surely be massive programmes of Energy efficiency and cutting Energy waste. Why go to the trouble and expense of building new Nuclear Power plants when a strong, sensible, cheap programme of Energy Conservation would do the job ?

The Carbon Dioxide emissions that will be the result of the construction phase of new Nuclear plants would put us in Carbon debt for years.

We could get a national programme of BioMethane running, with virtually no new plant, in less time than it will take to put the concrete bases down for the Nuclear reactors.

We could build lots and lots of lovely Wind Power, balanced in output with high efficiency BioMethane plant, long before seeing an ounce of electricity from any new Nuclear build.

A programme of just two new Nuclear Power stations would be a replacement programme, not additional capacity. All the current Nuclear units we have should be decommissioned from age by 2023. Two new plants would give a little coverage after all that loss, but not much. It’s not exactly going to be national “baseload”.

So, new Nuclear is not about new Energy provision, as that could be compensated for by Energy Saving and balanced Renewables plugged into the grid.

And new Nuclear is not about Climate Change, as it would make a completely marginal contribution to cutting emissions, which should properly be done by not constructing massive concrete things .

It seems that new Nuclear is more about something else other than either Energy Supply or Climate Change control.

All speculation welcome.

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