Renew On Line (UK) 52
Extracts from NATTA's journal
|Welcome Archives Bulletin|
11. Nuclear News
Nuclear power is back in the news again. First came James Lovelocks’ reiteration of his familiar pro-nuclear views. Then, In July, Tony Blair told a House of Commons committee that the USA was pressing Britain to look again at the nuclear option. He added “I have fought long and hard, both within my party and outside, to make sure that the nuclear option is not closed off,” and said that there was no way nuclear could be removed from the agenda “if you are serious about the issue of climate change”. It was not a matter of a decision now, but one would be needed ‘within the next few years’. However he was clearly aware that there would be a lot of opposition. Friends of the Earth, said: “It took months to hammer out a policy in the white paper and nothing has happened since to change the basics, which were that energy efficiency and renewables were the best bet. It would be 15 years before there was one kilowatt of energy from a new nuclear station.”
With the nuclear issue back in the news, we though we’d recycle part of one of the most balanced analyses of the economics of nuclear option we’ve seen- from POST, the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology- see box right.
* A ‘Gaia and Global Change’ conference organised by James and Sandy Lovelock at Dartington Hall in Devon in June 2004, included a discussion of the merits of revival of the civil nuclear power industry in Britain- and by implication elsewhere. Evidently, Lovelocks view that dealing with climate change required a rethink on nuclear was well received- even it seems by some people from the Centre for Alternative Technology: see the Forum section of Renew 152.
EU official supports nuclear...
Loyola de Palacio, EU commissioner for energy
and EC Vice-president, has been making familiar pro-nuclear
noises. At an energy conference earlier this year she
warned that “Unless decisive
new action is taken, it now appears that the share of
renewable electricity is unlikely to reach the 21% target
by 2010 which the Commission set three years ago. In order
to increase the diversity in our fuel mix, difficult decisions
must be made now.” She claimed that
..French turn against nuclear?
There’s talk of a new French nuclear programme
and we’re told that the French public is happy with nuclear
power. But it now seems that this is changing- judging
by the answers to an annual survey carried out in Jan.
each year with a representative panel of 2004 persons
aged 18 years and over. Asked “Does the choice of nuclear
power to produce three-quarters of the electricity in
Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology
POST argues that, since nuclear plans are so capital intensive, the discount rate is arguably the most important factor affecting the sensitivity of the cost projections.
It adds “nuclear power projects in the past have often turned out more expensive than assumed. For example, cost estimates for the Sizewell B reactor were revised upwards by 40% and generation costs were higher (~6p/kWh)".
It admits that “recent constructions in
Given that capital costs are likely to be high even for
the new reactor technology that is being proposed, POST
asks if market mechanisms, such as carbon taxes, or exemption
from the Climate Change Levy, would help. It says
that it is, ‘unclear what
level of tax would be sufficient to make nuclear power
competitive. The forthcoming EU emissions trading scheme
will benefit nuclear energy although it is doubtful whether
this would be sufficient to stimulate new build. Another
option is making direct support available, possibly as
loan guarantees on construction costs. This was discussed
Basically it would be up to the private sector to raise
the capital- and there is little sign of interest from
that source in the
See also their new Postnote ‘Assessing the risk of terrorist attacks on nuclear facilities’.
Chapelcross to shut
BNFLs four military MAGNOX reactors at Chapelcross
Radiation risks error
A Committee set up by the