Sustainable Development Commission cites long-term waste, security risks and costs as major disadvantages of nuclear power.
An influential sustainability watchdog today came out against a new nuclear power programme.
The Sustainable Development Commission, the government's independent watchdog on sustainable development, found that there was no justification for bringing forward a renewed nuclear programme.
In its response to the government's Energy Review, the SDC said that even if the UK's existing nuclear capacity was doubled, it would only give an 8% cut on CO2 emissions by 2035, with nothing before 2010.
Based on eight new research papers, the SDC highlighted five major disadvantages to nuclear power:
- Long term waste: no solutions currently available and impossible to guarantee safety
- Cost: economics of new-build are uncertain with little justification for public subsidy. Taxpayers would have to pick up tab of over budget projects
- Inflexibility: nuclear would lock the UK into a centralised distribution system for the next 50 years, at exactly the time when opportunities for microgeneration and local distribution network are stronger than ever
- Undermining energy efficiency: a new nuclear programme would give out the wrong signal to consumers and businesses, implying that a major technological fix is all that's required
- International security: The UK cannot deny other countries the same new nuclear technology but with lower safety standards they run higher risks of accidents, radiation exposure and terrorist attacks.