Letter Councillor David Blackburn Chair of UK and Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities steering committee: In a week when Brexit for once did not lead the headlines, it is the world’s most critical problem that has come back to the fore – the dire concerns over climate change. Mark Carney’s warning to financial regulators, banks and insurers around the world to “raise the bar” can’t come soon enough. The Extinction Rebellion movement has very much focused attention this week on climate change, and whatever their methods, it is really important we focus public policy on this massive threat to our long-term wellbeing. Councils are fully aware of their important responsibility in this as local leaders, and the raft of climate emergency resolutions, coupled with developing programmes of radical action, is our contribution to dealing with this existential threat. It is about time the financiers picked up the baton, as the major societal change required to come anywhere close to dealing with this challenge needs both lots of money and the transformation of economies to work. So I encourage this sector to work more effectively with government at all levels and stop investing in high-carbon fossil fuels, but also in nuclear power, which is just too slow to realise and too expensive to deal with the urgency of the climate crisis. Billions, if not trillions, needs to be invested now in low-carbon energy, storage, efficiency, transport and heating solutions. Politicians can only do so much. Extinction Rebellion is right in that we should have been taking much more urgent action over the past 40 years, and as policymakers we should accept that common failure. Now is the time for rapid change so that all our grandchildren and future generations can have a real chance of a decent life. To the financial sector, I urge them to get on with supporting us in that endeavour.
Guardian 19th April 2019 read more »
“There is no such thing as a zero or near-zero-emission nuclear power plant”. Stanford professor Mark Z Jacobson has said new nuclear plants may cost up to 7.4 times more than wind and solar facilities, with construction times longer by up to 15 years. Such a delay, he said, may see an huge amount of extra carbon emissions from fossil fuel power sources. His verdict comes as China this month set new guaranteed tariffs for nuclear power. Measuring carbon emissions from nuclear plants during operations does not take into account the horrendous carbon footprint caused during the lengthy waits for them to come online. With new nuclear projects taking so long – and utility scale solar or wind schemes requiring 2-5 years to begin commercial operations – nuclear effectively emits a hundred years’ worth of 64-102g of CO² per kilowatt-hour of plant capacity just from grid emissions during the wait for projects to come online or be refurbished, compared to wind or solar farms. Jacobson added, a further 2-4 years of plant downtime will have to be factored in to take account of the refurbishment required to ensure nuclear facilities run for their expected 40-year lifetime. “Overall, emissions from new nuclear are 78-178g [of] CO²/kWh, not close to zero,” he wrote. “Even existing plants emit, due to the continuous mining and refining of uranium needed for the plant.” According to the Stanford paper, the capital cost of new nuclear ranges from $6,500-12,250/kW, whereas a new wind turbine ranges from $1,150-1,550/kW. “Dividing the high (and low) capital cost of nuclear per kW by the low (and high) capital cost of wind per kW and multiplying the result by 14 GW gives a range of 58.7-149 GW nameplate capacity of wind that could have been installed and running prior to 2017,” the report stated.
PV Magazine 18th April 2019 read more »