Stop Hinkley Press release

20th March 2006

Nuclear no help to climate change, meeting told

Nuclear power could reduce harmful carbon emissions by only eight percent while saving electricity would save 30 percent, was the message from speakers at a Burnham meeting last week.

Local GP and Green campaigner, Dr Richard Lawson said even doubling the capacity of our nuclear power stations could only save at most a fraction of the 60 percent government target for greenhouse gas reduction by 2050 but would cost substantially more than energy saving and renewable forms of energy.

He was backed up by leading wind-energy journalist, Crispin Aubrey, who said that stand-by swiches on televisions and recorders waste more electricity than that produced by a nuclear power station and should be eliminated on new sets. Quoting from the government's Sustainable Development Commission, he argued that 85 percent of UK electricity supply could come from renewables with much potential for micro-generation, such as small turbines and solar panels on our homes. District-wide heat and power generation would be more efficient than transporting electricity hundreds of miles down cables from large remote power stations, which loses up to two thirds of the energy produced.

The meeting at the Princess Hall heard that nuclear now accounts for only 19 percent of our electricity while renewables at 4 percent in the UK and 15 percent in Europe are fast catching up. Europe now has targets of 23 percent sales of wind energy by 2030 and thirty percent sales of all renewables by the same year. Sweden has taken the progressive decision to phase out the use of all fossil-fuels by 2020, while Germany is still on course to phase out its nuclear power in favour of renewables, despite a change of government.

Dr Lawson argued there is no long term future for nuclear as mining poorer uranium ores for its fuel will become increasingly inefficient. Fast breeder technology would be the logical extension to producing nuclear fuel but would be unthinkable due to the necessary proliferation of weapons-grade plutonium. Rising sea-levels at sites like Hinkley Point also make long-term planning impossible.

He called for new measures to be introduced to protect existing plants from terrorism, including reactors to be automatically 'tripped' if a jet flies into a wider and realistic 'no-fly' zone and iodine 'anti-radiation' tablets issued to thousands of homes. Insurance against the worst credible accident was less than one tenth of one percent of the likely damage.

Jim Duffy, spokesman for Stop Hinkley, said: "There is an urgency to move on climate change but nuclear is the wrong answer. We can reduce harmful emissions more economically with existing technologies and the political will. I urge Burnham residents to write to the government in its energy consultation."

The public meeting was co-hosted by Parents Concerned About Hinkley (PCAH), Families for Clean Energy (FORCE) and Stop Hinkley.

Readers can write to the government Energy Review at:
Energy Review Team
DTI, 1 Victoria St
London SW1H 0ET


Jim Duffy, Stop Hinkley 07968 974805
Julian Plested, PCAH 07855 518220
Colette Winfield, FORCE, 01278 789824

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