Greenpeace: nuclear power sums don't add up

3rd May 2007
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Greenpeace has published an independent report demonstrating that support for nuclear power as a way of tackling climate change would be an economic disaster.

The authors point to a new power station in construction at Olkiluoto in Finland. Structural problems, which have dogged so many of the UK's power stations in recent months, showed up as soon as the first concrete was poured. In addition, building only went ahead because the plant operators, Areva, were offered a 'turnkey' price, guaranteeing a fixed rate for their electricity no matter what happened to the market rate. The project is now set to run at least 700 million euros over-budget.

Greenpeace argue that building the power plants will be impossible without substantial government subsidies, which in turn means the taxpayer ends up paying for nuclear.

'If nuclear power is to be subsidised in this way, there needs to be clear and compelling evidence that this is a cost-effective and worthwhile way to use taxpayers' and electricity consumers' money,' the report states.

Increased energy efficiency and further development of renewable generation could help fill the deficit which will occur when the current breed of nuclear plants are forced to close in the next ten years, the authors state.

The report is published just one day before the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is expected to green-light nuclear power as one way of tackling rising emissions of carbon dioxide in its third report of the year.

This article first appeared in the Ecologist May 2007

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