Net zero without nuclear. The Case Against Nuclear Power
|Classificatie||6.01.2.16/81 (KE & BROEIKAS - WEL/NIET OPLOSSING + SCENARIO'S)|
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N E T Z E R O W I T H O U T N U C L E A R THE CASE AGAINST NUCLEAR POWER Jonathon Porritt April 2021 NET ZERO WITHOUT NUCLEAR A: KEEPING AN OPEN MIND I’ve been ‘anti-nuclear’ since 1974 – ever since I joined the Green Party. My basic position hasn’t changed much during that time. Not because I decided back then that nuclear power was an inherently ‘wicked’ technology that must be avoided at all costs. I can genuinely claim that I’ve been waiting more than 45 years for someone to prove me wrong about nuclear power, to falsify my working hypothesis that it’s simply ‘the wrong technology at the wrong time’ for sorting out all the challenges that we face. As Director of Friends of the Earth back in 1986, I invited James Lovelock to deliver our set-piece annual event, the John Preedy Memorial Lecture. Our Local Groups were instantly up in arms at the prospect of providing a platform for such an outspoken nuclear enthusiast. Supported by our Board, we weathered the storm, on the grounds that genuinely open minds should never be afraid of hearing diametrically opposed voices. Which is the same reason why Friends of the Earth did not oppose the use of public money to fund research into different nuclear technologies. Yes, we were uncompromisingly opposed to the whole nuclear establishment at that time (Windscale – now Sellafield – Sizewell B, nuclear waste policies and so on), but we also said that if this ‘misbegotten child of the nuclear weapons establishment’ could demonstrate a genuinely ‘fit for purpose’ strategy, on what grounds would we then oppose it? This positioning was confirmed by FoE in 2014: ‘We do not oppose research into potentially safer forms of nuclear power, but our current assessment is that we are unlikely to need them in the future.’ I hold to that view today. I’m still relatively relaxed about the government of the day deploying taxpayers’ money to find answers to the currently overwhelming barriers the nuclear industry still faces – more than 50 years on from the time when the nation embraced nuclear power as a potential source of ‘clean energy’ that would, at some point in the future, be ‘too cheap to meter’. That may well have been a reasonable aspiration in those days, but the industry’s record speaks to an endless litany of disappointments and failures. So I’m not anti-nuclear because I’ve had a closed mind since 1974. I’m anti- nuclear because my mind is still hungrily open, constantly evaluating the ‘case for nuclear power’ when weighed in the scales with ‘the case against nuclear power’. If and when ‘the facts change’ in the future (nobody can re-write the factual history of this industry or ignore the continuing liabilities of that history), people should legitimately expect me to change my mind accordingly.