Thursday, March 30, 2006

How much renewable energy could £70bn buy?!

According to BBC news today, it is now estimated that it will cost more than £70bn to clean up the nuclear waste from existing nuclear power stations. The previous estimate was £56bn. In addition, BNFL is planning to sell off its clean-up business - so a private company, dependent on public money, will be making a profit out of cleaning up nuclear waste. The whole concept of a company trying to make money out of this fills me with horror (for "increasing efficiency" read "cutting corners or paying workers less") .

To put this £70 bn in context, it is two thousand times more than what the government plans to give to homes and businesses over the next 3 years to support small-scale green energy projects (£30m). It is for waste from nuclear power stations which currently only provide 3.6% of the UK energy supply. Clearly this waste has now got to be treated and stored, but what kind of idiots would then also seriously consider investing billions more in a new generation of nuclear power stations when that money could go so much further invested in renewable energy? Surely we could put a solar panel or mini-wind turbine on practically every home in Britain for the amount it's going to cost, reducing fuel poverty for milions in the process?

There are so many reasons why nuclear is not the answer and increased energy efficiency and investment in renewables (in particular micro-generation) is. I could go into it here, but the sites/reports below say it so much better.

For those who want to discuss the issues further/find out more, we are having a public mtg at St Andrew's Centre in Brockley on 20th Apr.

Green Energy Works!
Presentation and discussion on renewable energy and alternatives to nuclear power
With Keith Taylor, Green Party Principal Speaker
Thursday 20th April, 7.30pm
St Andrew's Centre (corner of Brockley Road and Wickham Rd)
All welcome. For further info

Incidentally, locally, the awful SELCHP incinerator in New Cross proudly boasts that it has 'the power to turn waste into heat for homes' yet as I understand it, it has still to be connected to anything, so the power to heat 30,000 homes is going up in smoke. I hope I'm wrong on this but a recent written answer to a mayoral question certainly hinted that this was still the case.

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