Non Nuclear Nations Say Nuclear Energy ‘Not the Solution to Global Warming’

DUBLIN (AFP) – Environment ministers from Austria, Iceland, Ireland and Norway said Monday that nuclear power was not the solution to global warming.

In a joint statement following a meeting in Dublin, the four ministers from the non-nuclear countries said the “inherent risks and problems associated with the nuclear energy option remain and it can not therefore claim to be a clean alternative to fossil fuel use.”

They said it was the sovereign right of each country to decide its own energy mix.

“However, for Ireland, Iceland, Norway, and Austria, we voice serious concern that nuclear energy is being presented as a solution to climate change.

“It is our collective view that the current debate seeks to downplay the environmental, waste, proliferation, nuclear liability and safety issues and seeks to portray nuclear energy as a clean, safe and problem free response to climate change.”

The statement said the trans-boundary nature of health and environment risks associated with nuclear energy dictated that governments in countries with nuclear power needed to ensure that other countries’ concerns were taken into consideration.

“The specific international liability regimes currently in place for the nuclear industry do not provide full scope compensation for potential damage or injury and provide a hidden subsidy to that industry,” the ministers said.

After 50 years of nuclear power, waste remains the most intractable issue, they added.

“The legacy of the nuclear industry for many generations to come continues to increase with little evidence of any real implementation of necessary long term solutions to the waste issue.

“Nuclear waste reprocessing, advocated as a solution to the management of nuclear waste, has long since lost its lustre and today the industry remains economically and environmentally untenable.”

They said that reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel represents a key source of pollution risks and remains a significant source of radioactive pollution and called on Britain not to re-open the THORP plant at its Sellafield site.

The ministers announced that a further meeting would take place in Vienna in late 2007.

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One Response to “Non Nuclear Nations Say Nuclear Energy ‘Not the Solution to Global Warming’”

  1. Robert Palgrave Says:

    These countries are right – there really is no need for nuclear power in Europe because there is a simple mature technology available that can deliver huge amounts of clean energy without any of the headaches of nuclear power.

    I refer to ‘concentrating solar power’ (CSP), the technique of concentrating sunlight using mirrors to create heat, and then using the heat to raise steam and drive turbines and generators, just like a conventional power station. It is possible to store solar heat in melted salts so that electricity generation may continue through the night or on cloudy days. This technology has been generating electricity successfully in California since 1985 and half a million Californians currently get their electricity from this source. CSP plants are now being planned or built in many parts of the world.

    CSP works best in hot deserts and, of course, there are not many of these in Europe. But it is feasible and economic to transmit solar electricity over very long distances using highly-efficient ‘HVDC’ transmission lines. With transmission losses at about 3% per 1000 km, solar electricity may, for example, be transmitted from North Africa to London with only about 10% loss of power. A large-scale HVDC transmission grid has also been proposed by the wind energy company Airtricity as a means of optimising the use of wind power throughout Europe.

    In the ‘TRANS-CSP’ report commissioned by the German government, it is estimated that CSP electricity, imported from North Africa and the Middle East, could become one of the cheapest sources of electricity in Europe, including the cost of transmission. That report shows in great detail how Europe can meet all its needs for electricity, make deep cuts in CO2 emissions, and phase out nuclear power at the same time.

    Further information about CSP may be found at http://www.trec-uk.org.uk and http://www.trecers.net . Copies of the TRANS-CSP report may be downloaded from http://www.trec-uk.org.uk/reports.htm . The many problems associated with nuclear power are summarised at http://www.mng.org.uk/green_house/no_nukes.htm .

    Sincerely,

    Robert Palgrave

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