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-> Greens Press -> Blair a 'dinosaur' for his belief in nuclear power
24642006-07-05

Green Party in England & Wales

Green Party Energy Spokesperson Tom Tibbits today labeled Blair a
dinosaur for his belief in pariah nuclear power

"Blair has asked for someone to show how we can cure the problem
without nuclear. What we need is the political leadership from the
likes of Blair to show us, the UK, how we're going to solve the
problem without nuclear power. It's clear from real life examples,
such as Woking, that utilising renewable technology, combined with a
greater emphasis on energy-efficiency and localised generation, is
not only vastly less carbon intensive than nuclear power, but also
delivers cost savings as well.

"Woking has achieved around a 75% CO2 reduction, and saved around 20%
in costs compared to the business as usual alternative - saving its
Council Tax payers 700,000 per year (an average of 20 per household
in the borough) on energy bills. (1)

"But to translate that success into a nationwide model of low carbon
innovation requires our leaders to do more than constantly pre-empt
the outcome of various Government reviews. They need to create the
right policy framework within which the major players in the UK's
energy infrastructure can start making the right moves to enable this
technological revolution. They also need to ensure that the rapid
growth in consumer electronics doesn't bring with it a rapid growth
in stand-by consumption. Again legislation would be an effective tool
in this battle.

"But instead we're seeing the centralised electricity lobby, in
conjunction with the military, insist that we continue with the
nuclear pariah. They claim we need more nuclear power, because the
current fleet might be decommissioned in the next 15 years. But those
fifteen years are far too long to wait for a new fleet of nuclear
reactors. An offshore windfarm could be constructed in 8 months,
allowing it to generate carbon free power for a whole fourteen years
before all the capital investment in a new nuclear plant eventually
yields electricity. A CHP (combined heat & power) plant could be
fitted into new housing developments, cutting in half the associated
carbon emissions from heating and powering that development from
gas. New photovoltaic technologies have similarly short lead times
in comparison to a nuclear power station.

"But Blair cannot forget the old paradigm of big central plant, on an
eroding coastal site, pumping two-thirds of all the energy the
Uranium liberates straight into the sea, and then sending the
remaining 30% electricity hundreds of miles so it can be wasted by a
nation of televisions on stand-by.

"Suggesting that nuclear is the answer to a perceived gap in energy
security is to demonstrate exactly the type of backward looking, poor
political leadership that Blair was keen to shun when he was elected
in 1997. What he wanted was a new vision for a new Britain. That is
exactly the opposite of a new fleet of nuclear reactors. That would
be perpetuate the 1950's vision of electrcity too cheap to meter, a
claim that has long since been lambasted for being baseless
propaganda. We don't need to wait fifteen years to substitute old
power stations for newer ones, nor should we when the alternatives
are cheaper and quicker to implement. There's a serious market
opportunity for Britain to grasp in the field of efficiency and
renewables, if only the dinosaurs like Blair could see it!






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