Sunday, 20 June 2010

Aussia Trade Unions ban members from working in nuclear industry

The prospect of nuclear accident, incident or even "routine" emissions is an unreasonable trade off for being able to boil a kettle. It's true that there is plenty of uranium left in Australia. Problem is, the Australians see it as the "new asbestos." So much so that Aussie Unions have banned their members on ethical and safety grounds from working in all aspects of the nuclear industry, from mining to power plants. The Electrical Trade Union is equivalent to our Unite (representing members in the electrical, communications, power,
manufacturing, education, hospitality, aerospace and food industries).

The unprecedented stand taken this summer by the ETU has been shied away from by the British press despite the ethical and practical implications for the future of the nuclear industry. The press has been complicit however, with nuclear apologists, in reporting on climate change as a moral crow bar to try to force new build. As with all good crimes there is a big fat cover up- nuclear power has the unrivalled ability to trash
not only the climate but also our ability to sustain life on earth. Peter Simpson ETU secretary has said: "We're sick of hearing about nuclear power as the panacea of global warming, we're sick of people sweeping safety
issues under the carpet." There are plenty of ways to produce sustainable electricity and energy efficiency while leaving uranium safely in the ground. The principled line drawn in the sand by the ETU is of great significance to all our futures and it cannot be ignored
yours sincerely,
Marianne Birkby Radiation Free Lakeland 8 Chelsea Court Milnthorpe Cumbria LA7 7DJ

The real costs of nuclear power

The Guardian      Thursday 17 June 2010

Paul Spence says the nuclear industry expects to pay the full cost of decommissioning a new generation of nuclear power stations (Response, 15 June). But his words about "our full share of waste management and disposal costs" were carefully chosen. The consultation document reveals that EDF considers their full share of these costs to be around 20% of the total.

As our report Nuclear Power? No Point! highlighted last year, nuclear is only responsible for 4% of the energy consumed in the UK.

More energy can be saved by energy conservation measures in homes and businesses. Focusing on the nuclear industry takes resources away from building new renewable capacity, which, given sufficient political will, could provide more than enough electricity for the UK.

Darren Johnson    Green party spokesperson on Trade and Industry

• EDF's claim that they "have not asked for subsidy for new nuclear" is not all that it seems. The nuclear industry, owned by British Energy (in turn owned by EDF), will be receiving huge sums of windfall profits under government proposals for a floor price on carbon emission allowances. British Energy will greatly expand its profits for no increase in nuclear power production, all subsidised by electricity consumers.

Based on Royal Academy of Engineering analysis (a pro-nuclear source) a carbon floor price of £30 per tonne is likely to lead to electricity price increases of around 2.5p/Kwh. Given that British Energy produces
(according to their website) around 50 TWh per year, this would give them annual windfall profits of around £1.25bn a year. Many argue that the "floor price" would have to be higher than this to make new nuclear power stations profitable. A floor price of £50 per tonne would give EDF windfall profits (at 50 TWh a year) of over £2bn a year. Indeed British Energy and EDF are already receiving hundreds of millions of pounds a year of subsidy by another name through existing levels of carbon prices.

Dr David Toke    Senior lecturer in energy policy, University of Birmingham

• Paul Spence's defence of new nuclear power stations based on the assertion that they won't be a financial burden to the public ignores the taxpayer's liability in the event of a "new Chernobyl". No insurance company will offer cover for such an event or the consequences of a terrorist attack or any other less serious but still
unquantifiable risk. In its determination to sanction new nuclear power plants, the government is underwriting these risks; without such an undertaking no commercial company would even contemplate building a new nuclear power station. No hidden subsidies?