Hitachi- from the country that brought the world Fukushima

Hitachi- from the country that brought the world Fukushima
We feel very sad for the people of Japan who want to end nuclear energy whilst a potential new government and big business are desperate for it

No Fukushima at Oldbury

No to Fukushima at Shepperdine!

No to Fukushima at Shepperdine!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

No need for nuclear power

No need for nuclear power

The Independent - Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Recent political reviews of energy policy have tried to suggest that there are no practical alternatives to the risks of new nuclear reactors – that unless we start on new nuclear construction now, the lights will start to go out by 2015.

The real situation is more complex: although some 25GW of coal and nuclear is due to come offline by around 2030, the generation gap by 2015 identified in some recent policy papers is not supported by evidence, in that it assumes that no new generation capacity of any kind will be built over the next five years.

In fact more non-nuclear generation is already under construction and will come on-line by 2015 than is scheduled to go off-line. A further 1GW of new capacity beyond 2015 is being planned, permitted or constructed. Although this is predominantly gas- fired, the International Energy Agency has made it clear that gas is available in an increasingly global market to deliver reliable and affordable access for the UK.

Also, as National Grid has made clear, domestic demand for natural gas could be reduced significantly, and as anaerobic digestion biogas starts to come on-line, this will leave more gas capacity for the power sector (National Grid concludes that we can supply up to 18 per cent of UK gas demand from waste digestion).

However, in terms of gas supply, the real issue is the lack of storage capacity, making us susceptible to market manipulation and threatened interruptions.

The mid-term picture for nuclear power looks equally problematic. Three major new energy scenarios, from the European Climate Foundation, Price- Waterhouse Coopers (backed by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research), and the European Renewable Energy Council, conclude that the EU could obtain both its electricity and even its total energy, from renewables by 2050 – with no nuclear power, and without significant extra costs. Indeed it could be cheaper long term – after all there would be no fuel costs. Wind power is already the cheapest source on the grid in some US states, and it, and the other renewables, will get cheaper still as technology develops.

There are viable and pragmatic energy futures: where offshore wind, waves, tides, biomass and photovoltaics collectively offer the potential to harness enormous energy resources. Other energy futures include: large-scale networks for energy distribution; radical market innovations from energy supply to energy services, comprehensive energy efficiency, and the restructuring of our built environment to provide for more distributed and integrated energy systems.

The fact is, we are approaching an energy future of rich and bewildering choice, where a variety of radically different options present technically and economically viable alternatives – a future where the nuclear option is the dearest and riskiest of gambles.

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