Nuclear New Build Forum 2014

On November 20th KN leafleted the Nuclear New Build Forum.

This is the text which was used:

We’re here today to ask you if building any more nuclear power plants is really such a good idea?

Japan has highlighted one of your industry’s main problems by building 7 GW of solar in 2013 alone. That’s equivalent to about six nuclear power stations but built in only one year, while nuclear power stations take over 15 years to build!

No waste will be produced by this solar power source, while your industry still has no idea where to put the 150,000 mthm (metric tons heavy metal) waste which you’ve already produced to date, let alone that which you’ll produce in the future, if you are allowed to proceed. How on earth can you justify adding to the enormous burden of safeguarding this toxic waste which is already the terrible inheritance of our children’s children?

In fact, world solar power grew in 2013 by 38% to a total of 139 GW. While nuclear grew in 2012 by a mere 0.31%, or 1.2 GW, five nuclear plants got closed down in the USA during the same period as they were uneconomic. And your industry’s new design, the EPR, currently under construction in Finland and France, has had its projected completion date pushed back to 2018, from an initial projected completion date of 2010.

Maybe the Chinese will have more success with the two EPR’s which they are building; their construction is going much faster because most of he pesky regulatory supervision is being skipped over. In fact your record of building new nuclear power stations is not very good; nine plants have been listed as ‘under construction’ for over 20 years now.

And if wind is included, your industry really is looking poorly. 35 GW of wind was added globally in 2013, for a total of 318 GW. Both these technologies, solar and wind, can be put up in a year or two, don’t triple their price while being built like your nukes do, don’t leave mountains of waste that our children’s children will have to guard for thousands of years, don’t cost billions of pounds to decommission, don’t use all your fresh water just in normal, everyday use, and above all don’t risk destroying a third of your country if they have a bad day.

Your industry always ran on the basic promise that it would keep the radioactive contents of reactors separate from the outside environment, and yet your industry has averaged a meltdown and uncontrolled release once every seven years throughout it’s history.

Well, you’ve had a pretty good run for 60 years, piggy-backing on the military’s desire to cook up lots of uranium in reactors and turn it into plutonium for nuclear bombs. To cover this, you spread the myth of electricity from nuclear power stations being ‘too cheap to meter’, but the eyewatering expense of the proposed Hinkley Point C reactor has put paid to that little lie. ‘Too cheap to meter’ has turned out to mean ‘impossible for the private sector to ever afford’, and Hinkley is only getting built with money from the French and Chinese states on the condition that the English taxpayer guarantees them a greater than 10% return, fixed for 35 years. Truth is, your industry has never built one of these nuclear power stations without a huge dollop of cash from us taxpayers via our various governments.

And on top of that your industry is uninsurable; if the cost of the governments insuring of your industry was included in the cost, nuclear power would need a strike price of well over £200 per MW.h instead of the £92.50 granted. That would make it clear to everyone how expensive your industry is; why pay far, far more to run the risk of losing a third of your country?

And the last thing; the myth of nuclear being a safe, reliable source of baseline energy supply has suffered recently too, with half of the UK’s nuclear power stations off-line for one reason or another these last few weeks. Not so reliable after all. Yes, sometimes the wind doesn’t blow, but that is predictable and gentle. A nuke going off-line due to ‘unforseen circumstances’ (such as jellyfish or logs in the water intake) involves the sudden loss of a huge chunk of generating capacity, which the National Grid has described as a far more difficult problem to deal with.

How many solar panels and wind farms do you think could be built with the £24.5 billion that Hinkley C will cost? And how many less cancers would be caused to future generations by that?

Something to think about over lunch.

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