Renewable energy’s big supply-side competitor in providing energy in a world dominated by concerns over climate change is nuclear power. Nuclear power has not changed since before climate change went up the political agenda at the end of the 1980s. The concerns about safety, nuclear waste, decommisioning costs and nuclear weapons proliferation still remain.
However now people are becoming more aware that nuclear power plant are monumentally difficult and expensive to build in the first place. This fact has often been masked by the fact that nuclear power plant have been built by energy monopolies who have been able to obscure the immense cost. Even many of those who still support nuclear power in principle now realise that it is an expensive and unnecessary relic of unrealised hopes of the mid-20th century. There are also allegations that the drive for small modular reactors (see briefing below) is heavily associated with military interests to optimise reactors in nuclear submaries.
At the end of the day, if we’ve got much cheaper renewable energy, why would we do nuclear? No reason really – arguments that renewable energy cannot assure security of supply are baseless, something which can be seen from the material on this website (see section on storage and balancing). Indeed, as our report on the subject of wind power compensation payments points out, nuclear power is unsuitable for the key task of balancing the electricity grid. Here are some briefings and links for information on nuclear power.
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