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Why Blair is right about future nuclear power

By placing the possibility of a new generation of nuclear power stations on the agenda, Tony Blair has finally stated what has been glaringly obvious to anyone with an ounce of common sense: there is simply no alternative. The prime minister says that without new nuclear stations, by 2025 we will be 80%-90% dependent on foreign gas supplies, and miss our targets for reducing CO2 emissions. But compare his stance to Jack McConnell, whose fence-sitting has typically pleased no-one, and left Scotland bereft of decisiveness on such a crucial issue.

Wind-generated power is often mooted as a clean, sustainable and efficient alternative to conventional supplies. Quite frankly, it is expensive, unreliable and environmentally unfriendly. The cost of power generation by wind is estimated to be 5.35p per kwhr onshore and 7.19p per kwhr offshore, compared to 3.45p per kwhr for coal-fired, 2.57p per kwhr for gas-fired and 2.26p per kwhr for nuclear.

So the cost of electricity by wind power is far more expensive than by "conventional" means. It is also unreliable, as wind turbines will always need substantial back-up from conventional power stations since they are not capable of generation when there is little wind or when... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

By placing the possibility of a new generation of nuclear power stations on the agenda, Tony Blair has finally stated what has been glaringly obvious to anyone with an ounce of common sense: there is simply no alternative. The prime minister says that without new nuclear stations, by 2025 we will be 80%-90% dependent on foreign gas supplies, and miss our targets for reducing CO2 emissions. But compare his stance to Jack McConnell, whose fence-sitting has typically pleased no-one, and left Scotland bereft of decisiveness on such a crucial issue.
 
Wind-generated power is often mooted as a clean, sustainable and efficient alternative to conventional supplies. Quite frankly, it is expensive, unreliable and environmentally unfriendly. The cost of power generation by wind is estimated to be 5.35p per kwhr onshore and 7.19p per kwhr offshore, compared to 3.45p per kwhr for coal-fired, 2.57p per kwhr for gas-fired and 2.26p per kwhr for nuclear.
 
So the cost of electricity by wind power is far more expensive than by "conventional" means. It is also unreliable, as wind turbines will always need substantial back-up from conventional power stations since they are not capable of generation when there is little wind or when there is too much. So full "baseload capacity" must be maintained – making the cost to the taxpayer of additional surplus generating capacity unjustified in economic terms, and making subsidies nothing more than blatant environmental tokenism.
 
So what about wind-power's much-vaunted benefits to the environment and the reduction of CO2 emissions? In its 2005 paper entitled CO2 Emissions Reduction: Time for a Reality Check?, the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies said that "renewables, even on the most optimistic assumptions, have only a minor impact [on CO2 emissions], despite their prominence in the public debate". There are currently plans to build more than 300 wind turbines in Muirshiel Country Park; necessitating around 50 miles of taxpayer-funded access roads, and the opening of seven quarries – all threatening to devastate the ecology of a huge area of outstanding natural beauty, leisure space and wildlife habitat. That is hardly "environmentally-friendly".
 
The Oxford Institute states that even for "a Martian visitor, it would be clear that there are two EU countries . . . which have succeeded in delivering significantly lower CO2 emissions than their peers – France and Sweden. They have not done so by significant penetrations of new renewables. Instead, the reason is simple: they both have high levels of nuclear and hydro power". In Scotland, we already have much of that nuclear-hydro combination in place, and the natural and human resources to perfect it.
 
Hunterston generates around 25% of Scotland's electricity. Its licence to operate runs out in 2011. I urge Jack McConnell and the Scottish Executive to support Hunterston's likely bid for a five-year extension to that date, and in the meantime abandon their opposition to replacement reactors for Hunterston and Torness.


Source: http://www.theherald.co.uk...

MAY 19 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/2690-why-blair-is-right-about-future-nuclear-power
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