Brown comes out for Nuclear Power
One of the major question marks about the future of nuclear power was removed yesterday when Gordon Brown came out in support. Given that the present Prime Minister has already indicated his support for new nuclear build it is now fairly clear which way the government's energy review will go.
Blair and Brown will probably face further criticism for pre-empting the current energy review, and there is some justice in that, but as someone who is convinced that this country needs a balanced energy policy which includes a role for nuclear power, I am pleased that there is no longer much danger that a change in the Labour leadership could pose a threat to plans for new nuclear build.
When the Conservative energy review comes out, I hope that the government will be able to work for a cross-party consensus between the two main parties for a new energy policy, so that potential investors will not have to fear losing their money in a government U-turn.
Just to emphasise the point, to achieve the scale of impact to cut carbon emissions which the overwhelming majority of scientists now think is necessary, we need to reach for every available option. That includes energy saving, "burying" carbon to stop it getting into the atmoshere, making much more use of renewable energy, and replacing our present nuclear reactors with a new generation. There is not a cat in hell's chance that the UK can achieve significant overall reductions in carbon emissions without at least maintaining the 20% of our electicity generation which is currently carbon free because it comes from nuclear power.
I have heard it suggested that one question mark over new nuclear build may be future question marks about the long-term security of supplies of uranium. This may be an issue, but would you rather rely on Putin and Gazprom ? I think not. The debate on reprocessing can wait for another post when I can do it justice.