Renew On Line (UK) 61

Extracts from NATTA's journal
Renew, Issue 161 May-June2006
   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         
 

Contents

The Energy Review

Climate Policy arrives

Tidal and wave power

Micro CHP Results

Policy developments

Where the money goes.

UK round up

Climate Threats

Global News

EU News

News around the world

Nuclear News

The Energy Review

Hain- renewables better

In SERA’s journal New Ground, Peter Hain MP said that renewable energy ‘is significantly preferable to the widely advocated ‘nuclear option’. While everything must be on the table during the review, serious concerns must remain about nuclear: the financial costs are impossible to estimate, security implications are vast, its label as ‘clean’ is unwarranted as uranium enrichment is carbon-emitting and we rely on other nations for its supply. Our failure to take the tough decisions on alternative sources of energy in the past has left us now facing this option. If we are faced with no choice but to go down this route, then we must at the same time make a similar commitment to renewables that ensures future generations do not face the same dilemma.’

SDC- no to nuclear

Nuclear pwer is not the answer to climate change or security of supply, according to the governments advisory Sustainable Development Commission. Based on eight new research papers, the SDC aim to provide a balanced review of the issues, but they conclude that, even if the UK’s existing nuclear capacity was doubled, it would only give an 8% cut on CO2 emissions by 2035 and nothing before 2010. This must be set against the risks:

1. Long-term waste- no long term solutions are yet available, let alone acceptable to the general public; it is impossible to guarantee safety over the long-term.

2. Cost- the economics of nuclear new-build are highly uncertain. There is little, if any, justification for public subsidy, but if estimated costs escalate, there’s a clear risk that the taxpayer will be have to pick up the tab.

3. Inflexibility- nuclear would lock the UK into a centralised distribution system for the next 50 years, at exactly the time when opportunities for microgeneration and local distribution network are stronger than ever.

4. Undermining energy efficiency- a new nuclear programme would give out the wrong signal to consumers and businesses, implying that a major technological fix is all that’s required, weakening the urgent action needed on energy efficiency.

5. International security- if the UK has a new nuclear programme, we cannot deny other countries the same technology (under the terms of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change). With lower safety standards, they run higher risks of accidents, radiation exposure, proliferation and terrorist attacks.

On balance, the SDC finds that these problems outweigh the advantages of nuclear. But, it didn’t rule out further research into new nuclear technologies and pursuing answers to the waste problem, as future technical developments may justify re-examination of the issue. Full report is at: www.sd-commission.org.uk/pages/060306.html

* There have also been very radical reports from the Green Party, the Green Alliance, SERA and Friends of the Earth, all claiming that nuclear was irrelevant and that renewables were the best bet. In addition, the OU EERU submitted evidence to the energy review on large scale offshore wind and city-wide CHP. Full coverage of all these in Renew 162. The DTI says it will put all public submissions to the review- which ends in July- on its web site: www.dti.gov.uk/energy/review.


EAC Bites

The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee has produced a very forthright report on energy, climate change and nuclear power, 'Keeping the Lights on', which says that nuclear ‘could not be built in time’ to make much difference to climate change or energy security problems by 2020, and had many other problems. It backed the 2003 Energy White papers' commitment to renewables CHP and energy efficiency. More in Renew 162

TPA on Intermittency

The UK Energy Research Centres’ Technology and Policy Analysis team at Imperial College has published its major review of the intermittency issue, claiming that it is not a major problem: www.ukerc.ac.uk More in Renew 162.

NATTA/Renew Subscription Details

Renew is the bi-monthly 30 plus page newsletter of NATTA, the Network for Alternative Technology and Technology Assessment. NATTA members gets Renew free. NATTA membership cost 18 pa (waged) 12pa (unwaged), 6 pa airmail supplement (Please make cheques payable to 'The Open University', NOT to 'NATTA')

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