Sunday, 21 March 2010

Press release: Jonathon Porritt - "Wrong to impose nuclear on future generations but clean, sustainable energy is deliverable"

A new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point is not needed and would leave
an unacceptable legacy of radioactive waste to future generations, the
leading environmentalist Jonathon Porritt told a packed meeting of the Stop
Hinkley campaign in Taunton last night (Tuesday 16 March).

“It would be totally wrong to impose on future generations a problem for
which we have no solution,” he said. “We don’t know how to deal with
nuclear waste. There is no clear strategy. We are just hoping that the next
generation can sort it out.”
This included the spent nuclear fuel which would be stored at a new
Hinkley nuclear power station for as long as 160 years.
Porritt, a former director of Friends of the Earth and head of the
government advisory body, the Sustainable Development Commission, said he had both
practical and ethical objections to a new construction programme of
nuclear plants, of which Hinkley “C” would be the first.
“I have huge concerns about the cost of nuclear power,” he said. “Don’t
believe a single word that comes out of the industry. This is an industry
that has obscured, concealed, lied and deviated from the truth from the
1950s onwards.” He gave the example of the £76 billion it now emerged it would
cost to decommission existing nuclear facilities, let alone any new ones.
This money would have to come directly from the taxpayer.
The economics of nuclear power were so unreliable, he added, that it was
possible that Hinkley C would never be built because investors would have
nothing to do with it.
He was also sceptical that new nuclear reactors like the ones proposed at
Hinkley would help in the battle against climate change. “Even if we
replaced all our existing fleet of reactors, as the government wants, we would
still only cut about 4% of our 1990 level of carbon dioxide emissions,” he
said. “The idea that we can wheel in nuclear power to deal with our low
carbon imperative is a flawed argument.”
No new nuclear plant was likely to be up and running before the middle of
the next decade, he added, which would be too little too late.
Instead, Porritt painted a picture in which Britain’s future energy
needs would be met by access to endless and clean sustainable energy. “I am
absolutely persuaded that this is deliverable,” he said.
His prescription included four elements – a major campaign on energy
efficiency, massive investment in renewable power, more use of combined heat and
power generation and, in a transition period, the development of cleaner
fossil fuels.
On energy efficiency he said that the UK could reduce energy consumption
by 30 to 40% over the next two decades by measures like improving the
efficiency of the existing housing stock. “The government just hasn’t done
enough,” he said. “The fact that you don’t hear politicians talking about this
is a nightmare.”
On renewable power he said that we were “the most blessed country in Europe
”, with tides, wind and waves waiting to be exploited round our coasts. “
This is no longer a niche industry,” he added. “Renewable power has become
a major international industry and now commands billions of pounds of
investment around the world.”
Porritt said he was in favour of a power-generating barrage across the
Severn Estuary, in spite of its potential environmental and social costs. This
would meet up to 10% of the country’s electricity needs.
Porritt concluded that although “climate change is serious, we have an
alternative to nuclear power. I find this hugely exciting. But there’s a
battle for the hearts and minds of green activists. That’s why your Stop Hinkley
campaign is so important, and it needs to get bigger.”
About 150 people attended the Stop Hinkley meeting in the Temple Methodist
Hall, Taunton. They were encouraged to sign a petition against the new
Hinkley “C” power station. This will be presented to the government when a
planning application is submitted by Electricite de France, probably in
Jim Duffy, Coordinator of Stop Hinkley said: "People said they found
Jonathon's upbeat talk inspirational - the way he handled the heavy subject
matter was in an easy entertaining manner. Some waverers said they were
convinced by his arguments. I think decision-makers should pay attention to the
brighter outcome for present and future generations that this very respected
environmentalist has mapped out."
Jim Duffy 07798 666756 _ ( )
Radio interviews: Crispin Aubrey 07920 523673 who produced the text for
this press release.
Also see Dr Richard Lawson's blog. Green campaigner, Richard chaired the

_Jonathon Porritt speaks on Nuclear Power in Taunton_

We'll open a nuclear power station every 18 MONTHS, say Tories

By James Chapman
Last updated at 9:26 AM on 19th March 2010

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One new nuclear power station would be opened every 18 months under a Conservative blueprint to avoid the first widespread electricity blackouts since the 1970s.

Shadow energy spokesman Greg Clark told the Daily Mail there would be 'no limit' on the expansion of nuclear power under a Tory government.

'In the past, we haven't been entirely clear - this is a very clear statement that we are in favour of nuclear power,' he said.
sizewell b

'No limit': The Tories want to open at least one new nuclear plant every 18 months, starting in 2018, to help plug a looming power gap. By 2023, all of Britain's nuclear power stations - except Sizewell B (pictured) - will be obsolete

Mr Clark said he intended to allow energy firms to open at least one new nuclear plant every 18 months, starting in 2018, to help plug a looming power gap.

A Conservative government would ask Parliament to approve a national energy plan, limiting the chances of legal challenges by environmental groups.

Mr Clark also set out proposals to reward communities which agree to host wind farms, saying they will benefit from discounted electricity bills and be allowed to keep business rates averaging £70,000 a year to spend locally.

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