Greenpeace Urges U.K. to Back Renewables, Dump Nuclear

During the past, subsidies to nuclear power in Britain amounted to more than US$14 billion and the environmental group Greenpeace wants the government to phase out all nuclear reactors in that country and to massively increase its targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency.

LONDON, England, UK, 2001-09-28 [] In a report to the government energy review, Greenpeace calls for a national effort to meet half of the U.K.’s electricity needs from renewable energy, mainly wind and wave power, within 20 years. It says an Environment Agency discussion paper recently suggested that it would be possible to reduce the Britain’s primary energy input by 50 percent by 2050. Greenpeace concedes that predictions for 50 years are highly uncertain, but the organization believes that this scale of reduction is plausible given the wasteful way in which energy is currently used, and the range of existing and developing approaches and technologies which could be used to boost energy productivity. The report says a proposal from the nuclear industry for tax exemption could raise the level of national insurance paid by all employers. As part of Germany’s official policy to phase out its 19 nuclear reactors, that government has plans for an offshore wind program that is 17 times larger than Britain’s plans for offshore development, despite the fact that Germany has only one quarter of the U.K.’s offshore wind resource. Greenpeace told the energy review that the government’s own energy technology advisers have indicated that more than two thirds of Britain’s electricity could be supplied at less than 4 pence per kilowatt-hour (US7-8c) by renewable energy over the next 25 years. “The nuclear industry is desperate to achieve a victory after years of defeats, but it will be the taxpayer and the environment that will have to foot the bill,” says executive director Stephen Tindale. “Any support to the nuclear industry would increase the burden of radioactive pollution in the U.K. and be a distraction from the fight against global warming.”


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