I am opposed to the building of new nuclear power stations in the UK under any form of public subsidy.
New nuclear power stations have been justified on the basis that they are the best way for the UK to:
- reduce its emissions of 'greenhouse gases' that cause climate change;
- close the impending 'energy gap' caused by the closure of existing nuclear and coal power stations;
- ensure national energy security in the decades ahead.
These arguments are wrong, for the following reasons:
- Despite the trillions of dollars invested in nuclear power, and the boundless optimism of nuclear advocates, nuclear power is very expensive. Nuclear power station construction always over-runs on both time and cost estimates, sometimes many times over.
- Renewables such as wind and solar electricity are getting cheaper all the time, and costs will continue to fall for many years to come as major industrial countries - including Germany, Japan, China and USA - make huge investments in renewables to secure their energy futures. Any nuclear power stations the UK begins to build now will be made obsolete by advances in renewable technologies, long before they are complete in ten or more years time.
- Emissions reductions can best be secured by investing in renewable energy; energy efficiency; microgeneration; energy storage; 'smart grid' / responsive demand technologies; and a trans-continental 'supergrid' stretching from North Africa to the Arctic Circle.
- The predicted deficit in the UK's electricity supply can be met, and more, by accelerated investment in renewable energy and microgeneration, and by raising the efficiency of our homes, factories and offices.
- A green electricity strategy based on renewables, microgeneration and demand reduction is free of any serious risks or long term liabilities. Nuclear power, by contrast, is associated with many serious hazards:
- radioactive emissions at every stage of the nuclear life cycle;
- nuclear waste that remains dangerous for over 100,000 years;
- the risk of severe nuclear accidents, like Chernobyl and Fukushima, costing hundreds of billions of pounds and rendering thousands of square kilometres uninhabitable;
- the danger that nuclear power stations and other nuclear facilities will be terrorist targets;
- the production of plutonium for nuclear bombs.
The open-market insurance cost against nuclear accidents alone is estimated to be worth roughly the entire UK retail electricity price of about 12p per kWh!
- The world contains limited resources of energetically viable uranium deposits, and these will quickly run out in the event of a widespread scramble for nuclear power. No viable uranium deposits exist in the UK.
- Raising energy efficiency will reduce our dependency on all energy imports. Renewable electricity depends only on wind, wave, tide and sunshine. None of these need to be imported, and they are immune from the vagaries of fuel and energy markets. The UK has the greatest renewable energy potential of any country in Europe, but we have done little to develop it.
I therefore believe that to commit enormous sums of public money to nuclear power - as Government spending, electricity surcharge, carbon subsidy, 'free' public liability insurance, or other means - is profoundly wrong, misguided, reckless and against the public interest.
I hereby pledge to resist the UK Government's nuclear power programme by all or any of the following means:
- refusing to pay a nuclear surcharge contained in energy bills; and paying the money into a 'green fund' to finance renewable energy and energy efficiency;
- voting in the next General Election for a party committed to a green electricity strategy based on renewables and efficiency, and which rejects nuclear power;
- writing to politicians, energy companies, newspapers, magazines and other media, and posting on websites and social networks, expressing my opposition to nuclear power;
- engaging in other campaigns, non-violent actions, civil disobedience, etc, to oppose nuclear power and support a green energy future.
The Nuclear Pledge petition to UK Government was written by Oliver Tickell and is in the category National Affairs at GoPetition.