A government white paper has suggested that new nuclear power stations will be essential to secure Britain’s energy needs.
I’m less than convinced. First, it just isn’t true that nuclear stations are carbon free. It may be that nuclear power produces no carbon at the station, but what of the carbon cost of producing and transporting the fuel around the world? Second, nuclear power is no answer to our energy security. We urgently need to address our dependence on imported energy. Going nuclear is no help here, unless Britain has uranium mines that I’ve never heard of.
I’m certain that at least a partial solution to Britain’s energy needs lies in the decentralization of energy production. How many acres of rooftops are there which are capable of holding photovoltaic cells? How many gas boilers which could be replaced with micro-CHP systems? There are many existing technologies, currently too expensive for most individuals and familes, which could be made available by government intervention. Real imagination is going to be needed if the twin problems of climate change and energy security are to be successfully tackled.