Why is the UK government so infatuated with nuclear power? As the nuclear option looks less and less sensible, it becomes harder to explain Whitehall’s enthusiasm. Might it be to do with the military? Andy Stirling and Phil Johnstone. Against a worldwide background of declining fortunes for nuclear power, UK policy enthusiasm continues to intensify. Already pursuing one of the most ambitious nuclear new-build agendas in the world, Britain is seeking to buck 50 years of experience to develop an entirely new and untested design of small modular reactors (SMRs). In 2016, then energy and climate secretary, Amber Rudd, summed up the government’s position: “Investing in nuclear is what this government is all about for the next 20 years.” The depth of this Whitehall bias creates a challenging environment for reasoned debate over British energy policy. To many, it seems scarcely believable that UK plans are so massively out of sync with current trends. The sheer weight of UK nuclear incumbency has successfully marginalised the entirely reasonable understanding that – like many technologies before it – nuclear power is simply going obsolete. It is now beyond serious dispute that nuclear power has been overtaken by the extraordinary pace of progress in renewables. But – for those so minded – the military case for nuclear power remains. In a democracy, it might be expected that these arguments at least be tested in public. So, the real irrationality is that an entire policy arena should so comprehensively fail to debate such crucial issues. In the end, all technologies become obsolete. If we are not honest about UK civil nuclear policy, the danger is that British democracy may go the same way.
Guardian 29th March 2018 read more »
NFLA All Ireland Forum welcomes that Irish Councils and communities at last have their say on the potential impacts of the UK’s new nuclear programme NFLA All Ireland Forum Co-Chair, Councillor Mark Dearey comments: “Irish Councils and communities at last have their say on the potential impacts of the UKs nuclear ambitions and particularly on Hinkley Point C. I am delighted that NFLA have been able to support Local Authorities here to input effective and informed comment. We have provided detailed and accurate information allowing Councils to take the opportunity and raise their concern over Hinkley Point C. It is also a chance to demonstrate that new nuclear is a white elephant which has been outpaced by cheaper greener alternatives that can be deployed in a fraction of the time it takes to build a nuclear power station. I urge our Local Authority members to grasp this opportunity and submit in the next ten days.” The NFLA All Ireland Forum publishes today an updated submission on the transboundary impacts of the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear reactor development. This allows Councils from across the island to make known their views and concerns on it and the wider UK new nuclear programme.
NFLA 28th March 2018 read more »