Nuclear Power

Nuclear power is the only proven safe and cost-effective way to generate large amounts of electricity that will not produce large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. There is more than enough uranium, thorium and plutonium to supply the entire world’s electricity for several hundred years. Anti-nuclear campaigners claim that nuclear power contains hidden emissions of GHGs from uranium mining and reactor construction, but so do wind turbines, built from huge amounts of concrete, steel and plastic. Nuclear-generated electricity is only marginally more expensive than gas and 20 times cheaper than onshore and offshore wind. With expected carbon-pricing penalties for gas and coal, nuclear power will be considerably cheaper than all the alternatives. Contrary to environmentalists’ claims, Britain has no radioactive waste problem and new nuclear build will not make any significant contribution to existing radioactive waste levels for 40 years. New reactors are constructed from modular designs with the need for decommissioning built-in. The costs of decommissioning and waste management will be incorporated into the price of electricity to consumers. As regards construction schedules, the Canadian company AECL has built new reactors in just over 4 years from the pouring of concrete to criticality. Looking at safety issues, terrorists have already demonstrated that they prefer large, high visibility, soft targets with maximum human casualties rather than well-guarded, isolated, low-population targets. Any new generation of nuclear reactors in the UK will be designed with even greater protection against attack than existing plants, and with ‘passive’ safety measures that work without human intervention or computer control.

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