UK urged to triple nuclear power

Greenpeace say nuclear is a distraction to the the real solutions
Greenpeace say nuclear is a distraction to the the real solutions
Former Minister's call to triple the contribution of nuclear power in UK dismissed as scare tactics

Gordon Brown has been told to triple the contribution of nuclear to electricity generation to prevent an over-reliance on imported oil and gas supplies.

A report by former energy minister Malcolm Wicks recommended that nuclear power should provide 35-40 per cent of the UK's electricity needs after 2030.

Its contribution has halved since the 1990s and now provides around 12.5 per cent of the UK's electricity demand.

Mr Wicks said the UK was becoming increasingly reliant on imports, particularly oil and gas, to meet its energy demands.

'Nuclear power is a proven, large-scale, low-carbon way to generate electricity,' said Wicks. 'To enhance energy security and reduce our reliance on imports, a range between, say, 35-40 per cent of electricity from nuclear could be a sensible aspiration beyond 2030.'

Nuclear distraction

However, Greenpeace said the best way to reduce the UK's energy insecurity was through increasing wind power and other renewable energy sources.

'With the costs of nuclear reactors soaring to around seven billion euros, and the only plants being built in the western world plagued with safety, financial and construction problems, it's clear where the UK's priorities should lie,' said Greenpeace climate and energy spokesman Robin Oakley.

'Nuclear is a dangerous distraction from the real solutions to climate change and energy security,' he said.

The report warned that supply chain disruption could hit consumers badly. Any disruption to gas supplies was likely to cost the UK economy around £600 million while the high oil prices experienced in 2008 cost the global economy about $150 billion.

Scare tactics

Liberal Democrat Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary Simon Hughes said the report was an attempt to scare the British public into accepting new nuclear power stations.'

'Energy security does not have to mean capitulation to massive nuclear subsidies. Britain needs a massive expansion of renewable energy that builds on the advantage of our natural resources.

'The Government must support the development of a European supergrid to help secure our energy future. We must act with our European partners to make Britain less dependent on unstable regions for our energy supplies,' said Mr Hughes.

Useful links
Energy Security: full report

More from this author