One year on from Fukushima (March 2012), it staggers me how many people still think there's a role for nuclear power in the UK's future energy mix. Together with three other former Directors of Friends of the Earth (Tom Burke, Tony Juniper, Charles Secrett), we've been assessing the case against nuclear - exclusively from an economic perspective. We've now captured this in a Note to the Prime Minister on the grounds that he absolutely won't be getting this advice from either Ministers or senior officials in DECC - which has for a long time been little more than the voice of the nuclear industry inside Government.
Photos kindly provided by Adrian Arbib www.arbib.org
I was Director of Friends of the Earth in the UK at the time of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. I felt at that time that this would finally kill off the nuclear industry – but that has proved to be a vain hope.
The irony, of course, is that it’s the onset of accelerating climate change that has given the industry a new lease of life, based on the somewhat questionable assumption that nuclear power provides very low-carbon electricity. Post-Fukushima, the Green Movement finds itself even more divided over the idea that nuclear power has a major role to play in the transition to a low-carbon world.
I guess George Monbiot (who thinks it has) and myself (who still thinks it hasn’t) reflect both ends of that divide. For those interested, here are the links to George’s initial challenge to me, in a Guardian Environment blog on 27th May: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2011/may/27/why-choose-nuclear-renewable-energy
And my reply to him is found here on this website in the Blog pages, plus a shorter, edited version on The Guardian site: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2011/jul/26/george-monbiot-renewable-nuclear