With memories of the oil crises of the 1970s still fresh in many minds, the Thatcher government announced a ten year programme of support for the nuclear power industry in 1980. The reactor construction rate was pegged at one per year.
In response, the April/May 1980 issue of the Ecologist was dedicated to the ensuing nuclear debate, pointing out the problems in such an undertaking.
The UK now stands in exactly the same position, with exactly the same debate still raging. Can we learn from Peter Bunyard’s article, written 30 years ago?
‘In essence the proposed nuclear power programme is a last-ditch stand against the ruthless arithmetic of rising demand for energy and an anticipated fall of indigenous petroleum and natural gas supplies…With an energy deficit costing Britain so dear, it would be utter folly, says the government, to forgo the contribution that nuclear power could make, and it has begun resurrecting the old Shibboleths: nuclear power is safe, clean and cheaper than fossil fuel electricity generation.’