Rhetoric vs reality

Posted by bex — 24 September 2008 at 10:44am - Comments

Yesterday: "I want British companies and British workers to seize the opportunity and lead the world in the transformation to a low carbon economy and I believe that we can create in modern green manufacturing and service one million new jobs" - Gordon Brown.

Today: British Energy is sold to French nuclear company EDF for £12.5 billion, exporting thousands of potential UK jobs to France, dealing a hammer blow to our chances of meeting our legally binding Renewables Obligation. 

Killing off renewables 

We've often explained how significant growth in nuclear power kills off renewables; if cash and political will favour nuclear power, renewables get suffocated. And, as even EdF admits, the opposite is also true: significant growth in renewables kills off the case for nuclear - perhaps explaining why nuclear industry stooge John Hutton has been so reluctant to embrace renewables.

Costing the consumer 

This deal will also end up costing the British consumer. EdF isn't just paying £12.5 billion to buy British Energy; it will also need at least a further £5 billion to build a single reactor (although the costs are spiralling), not forgetting the cost of upgrading the electricity grid and dealing with nuclear waste. It doesn't take a genius to work out that these enormous costs will eventually be passed on to customers in the form of higher energy bills.

Failing to tackle climate change 

For what? A low carbon energy sector apparently. But a replacement nuclear programme can only reduce our carbon emissions by four per cent sometime after 2025. A recent report shows that, if the government met its own renewables and efficiency targets, it could reduce the UK's CO2 emissions by up to 37 per cent by 2020 - without new nuclear or new coal plants. And all of this before the first new rector would be operational.

Tying us into dependance on foreign fuels 

Neither will nuclear power reduce our dependance on oil and gas. Nuclear can only produce electricity, and eighty-six per cent of our oil and gas consumption is for purposes other than producing electricity. On the other hand, the renewables and efficiency scenarios we've laid out do lead to a reduction in gas use - of up to 42 per cent. In another report, we've shown how industrial combined heat and power plants could halve our gas imports and provide power for two-thirds of UK homes.

Nuclear Power is a neccessary evil and Greenpeace must adapt its policy to embrace Nuclear in conjunction with renewables.
Renewables alone will not be able to satisfy the nation's power needs. Rightly, Coal & Gas, for many reasons, should not be considered 'future' options.
Nuclear Energy is the ONLY way to ENSURE that the nation's lights don't go out.
I wish it was another way, I wish renewables were more efficient, less costly and less invasive, but we're stuck with what we've got and there aren't any technology leaps on the horizon to radically change that.
Greenpeace, as a member of the organisation, I urge you to reconsider your postion on Nuclear Energy.

*

Rhetoric: Greenpeace cares about climate change
Reality: Greenpeace opposes the largest producer of low-carbon energy in the UK (nuclear power) and would rather burn fossil fuel (gas) instead. Nuclear power is the reason why people in France, Sweden and Switzerland have some of the lowest carbon footprints anywhere in Europe.

Killing off renewables?
Nuclear can coexist with renewables and efficiency, as these countries show. Any plan that includes nuclear has a far better chance of success in cutting emissions.

Costing the consumer?
The cost of any solution would be passed on to the consumer. The implication that nuclear would cost more than a pure renewable solution is false.

Failing to tackle Climate Change?
Kilowatt-hour for kilowatt-hour, nuclear does just as well as the best renewables in cutting carbon emissions. If you consider the contribution of nuclear electricity to be trivial, then you have to consider renewables as being equally trivial. But they aren’t. Both nuclear and renewables are needed.
Tying us to dependence on foreign fuels?
It is true that Uranium has to be imported, but it comes from reliable suppliers such as Canada and Australia. And its energy density is so high that it is easy to stockpile many years worth of supply. Unlike gas. Nuclear electricity combined with heat-pumps makes a more efficient form of domestic heating than gas-fired CHP (which Greenpeace seems remarkably keen on, considering it uses a fossil fuel). Similarly, transport emissions will ultimately be tackled by adopting electric transport. Nuclear power can also supply industrial process heat. The argument that it “can only produce electricity” is entirely bogus.

I’m not going to repeat myself further - I have already argued the points in detail here.

And this sudden anti-French jingoism from Greenpeace is ridiculous. It is precisely because of the work of Greenpeace that the domestic UK nuclear industry has been hobbled. And for what? Over-dependence on gas?

"It is precisely because of the work of Greenpeace that the domestic UK nuclear industry has been hobbled."

Reality check - Chernobyl.
Reality check - Cost.

If we want to become truly independent in terms of energy then we have to look to what we have right here. If we want to reduce the true cost - both in terms of money and pollution of our energy system then renewables offers the only viable solution. If we can make nuclear bombs in just a few years under severe wartime conditions; if we can harness and control something as complex as splitting the atom then I'm pretty sure we can harness the massive renewable potential that exists right here on this island. If we want a truly diverse energy system that shares the eggs across multiple baskets then renewables is the only solution.

The nuclear industry paints a pretty picture of "electricity to cheap to meter"; of infinite energy, stable costs and mature proven technology with few drawbacks. They even try to play the green card! Look at France they say, 80% nuclear and no problems. Well, if all this is the case then why are we not nuclear already? Why have the government not been clamouring for nuclear all these years? Why has the nuclear industry been unable to flog their reactors? The answers are at the top of this post. Paintings and reality are not the same.

The choice is a simple one. We can either fall for the pretty nuclear picture as we did in the 50's, ignoring the true costs involved and tie ourselves into a long round who's outcome we know only to well. Or we can opt for a new way; one that provides energy independence, builds new industry creating products that we can export worldwide and ultimately allows an energy supply system that is truly diverse.

Reality check - Nuclear will be the future.
6 billion people on the planet consuming the worlds resources, the majority of them living in poverty.

Nuclear power science will be the answer to providing carbon free energy to the 6 billion people allowing the progression of sustainable food production for the population these two keys will be large steps to ending world poverty and help avoid future wars.

Its time the green movement woke up to the bigger pictures and the short time frames innvolved, and started to encourage the science, anything is possible as long as you allow it,
'Ask yourself if there are to be new nuclear reactors what would the green movement like them to be' and then pour your energy's into campaigning for this. People need to understand about the possibility of genration 4 and 5 reactors and where the science is leading.The green movement are genrally conveniently ignorant of this sticking to eco-myths 'chernoybl ooooh'

A recent development has been the merging of accelerator and fission reactor technologies to generate electricity and transmute long-lived radioactive wastes.

A high-energy proton beam hitting a heavy metal target produces neutrons by spallation. The neutrons cause fission in the fuel, but unlike a conventional reactor, the fuel is sub-critical, and fission ceases when the accelerator is turned off. The fuel may be uranium, plutonium or thorium, possibly mixed with long-lived wastes from conventional reactors.
Many technical and engineering questions remain to be explored before the potential of this concept can be demonstrated.

Encourage the science, see the big issues as one big picture in a capitalist global market you can blow out lots of candles with one small breath.

Fair enough the green movement opposes nuclear energy on principle but if society will go ahead anyway due to large and urgent demands, then your principle must surely change to encourage the science to achieve the prize clean renewable energy - 'why cant this be nuclear why cant it be clean' who is going to encourage this achievement?

...Isn't nuclear. The nuclear farce is an unnecessary & dangerous distraction from the real problems facing humanity today; Peak OIl and Climate Change. Transition Wiki and Transition Culture provide excellent information on them, the implications, and what we can do about them. While I applaud Greenpeace's work and all the good that they have done, I think that a positive and holistic approach would make people more inclined to do something about climate change.

Everyone has problems,
Everyone has solutions.

Anyone who thinks that Nuclear Power is not part of an energy solution is not being open-minded at all - and what IS needed now is excatly that Open-Mindedness.
I stand by my comment of earlier (below)

"Nuclear Power is a neccessary evil and Greenpeace must adapt its policy to embrace Nuclear in conjunction with renewables.
Renewables alone will not be able to satisfy the nation's power needs. Rightly, Coal & Gas, for many reasons, should not be considered 'future' options.
Nuclear Energy is the ONLY way to ENSURE that the nation's lights don't go out.
I wish it was another way, I wish renewables were more efficient, less costly and less invasive, but we're stuck with what we've got and there aren't any technology leaps on the horizon to radically change that.
Greenpeace, as a member of the organisation, I urge you to reconsider your postion on Nuclear Energy".

But I would add that anyone who excludes potential solutions, wether it be due to some out-dated dogma or simple pig-headed ignorance cannot be trusted to give an objective opinion.

Greenpeace - I get the impression that your Strategy/Policy unit is just a bunch of nodding heads. Who do you have to act as a Devil's Advocate? You are in a Kings New Clothes scenario and I, for one, will no-longer be proud to be a member if you cannot be more inclusive in terms of solutions to help us damage the planet less.
Remember "Walk gently on this Earth"?

Nuclear Power is a neccessary evil and Greenpeace must adapt its policy to embrace Nuclear in conjunction with renewables. Renewables alone will not be able to satisfy the nation's power needs. Rightly, Coal & Gas, for many reasons, should not be considered 'future' options. Nuclear Energy is the ONLY way to ENSURE that the nation's lights don't go out. I wish it was another way, I wish renewables were more efficient, less costly and less invasive, but we're stuck with what we've got and there aren't any technology leaps on the horizon to radically change that. Greenpeace, as a member of the organisation, I urge you to reconsider your postion on Nuclear Energy.

*

Rhetoric: Greenpeace cares about climate change Reality: Greenpeace opposes the largest producer of low-carbon energy in the UK (nuclear power) and would rather burn fossil fuel (gas) instead. Nuclear power is the reason why people in France, Sweden and Switzerland have some of the lowest carbon footprints anywhere in Europe. Killing off renewables? Nuclear can coexist with renewables and efficiency, as these countries show. Any plan that includes nuclear has a far better chance of success in cutting emissions. Costing the consumer? The cost of any solution would be passed on to the consumer. The implication that nuclear would cost more than a pure renewable solution is false. Failing to tackle Climate Change? Kilowatt-hour for kilowatt-hour, nuclear does just as well as the best renewables in cutting carbon emissions. If you consider the contribution of nuclear electricity to be trivial, then you have to consider renewables as being equally trivial. But they aren’t. Both nuclear and renewables are needed. Tying us to dependence on foreign fuels? It is true that Uranium has to be imported, but it comes from reliable suppliers such as Canada and Australia. And its energy density is so high that it is easy to stockpile many years worth of supply. Unlike gas. Nuclear electricity combined with heat-pumps makes a more efficient form of domestic heating than gas-fired CHP (which Greenpeace seems remarkably keen on, considering it uses a fossil fuel). Similarly, transport emissions will ultimately be tackled by adopting electric transport. Nuclear power can also supply industrial process heat. The argument that it “can only produce electricity” is entirely bogus. I’m not going to repeat myself further - I have already argued the points in detail here. And this sudden anti-French jingoism from Greenpeace is ridiculous. It is precisely because of the work of Greenpeace that the domestic UK nuclear industry has been hobbled. And for what? Over-dependence on gas?

"It is precisely because of the work of Greenpeace that the domestic UK nuclear industry has been hobbled." Reality check - Chernobyl. Reality check - Cost. If we want to become truly independent in terms of energy then we have to look to what we have right here. If we want to reduce the true cost - both in terms of money and pollution of our energy system then renewables offers the only viable solution. If we can make nuclear bombs in just a few years under severe wartime conditions; if we can harness and control something as complex as splitting the atom then I'm pretty sure we can harness the massive renewable potential that exists right here on this island. If we want a truly diverse energy system that shares the eggs across multiple baskets then renewables is the only solution. The nuclear industry paints a pretty picture of "electricity to cheap to meter"; of infinite energy, stable costs and mature proven technology with few drawbacks. They even try to play the green card! Look at France they say, 80% nuclear and no problems. Well, if all this is the case then why are we not nuclear already? Why have the government not been clamouring for nuclear all these years? Why has the nuclear industry been unable to flog their reactors? The answers are at the top of this post. Paintings and reality are not the same. The choice is a simple one. We can either fall for the pretty nuclear picture as we did in the 50's, ignoring the true costs involved and tie ourselves into a long round who's outcome we know only to well. Or we can opt for a new way; one that provides energy independence, builds new industry creating products that we can export worldwide and ultimately allows an energy supply system that is truly diverse.

Reality check - Nuclear will be the future. 6 billion people on the planet consuming the worlds resources, the majority of them living in poverty. Nuclear power science will be the answer to providing carbon free energy to the 6 billion people allowing the progression of sustainable food production for the population these two keys will be large steps to ending world poverty and help avoid future wars. Its time the green movement woke up to the bigger pictures and the short time frames innvolved, and started to encourage the science, anything is possible as long as you allow it, 'Ask yourself if there are to be new nuclear reactors what would the green movement like them to be' and then pour your energy's into campaigning for this. People need to understand about the possibility of genration 4 and 5 reactors and where the science is leading.The green movement are genrally conveniently ignorant of this sticking to eco-myths 'chernoybl ooooh' A recent development has been the merging of accelerator and fission reactor technologies to generate electricity and transmute long-lived radioactive wastes. A high-energy proton beam hitting a heavy metal target produces neutrons by spallation. The neutrons cause fission in the fuel, but unlike a conventional reactor, the fuel is sub-critical, and fission ceases when the accelerator is turned off. The fuel may be uranium, plutonium or thorium, possibly mixed with long-lived wastes from conventional reactors. Many technical and engineering questions remain to be explored before the potential of this concept can be demonstrated. Encourage the science, see the big issues as one big picture in a capitalist global market you can blow out lots of candles with one small breath. Fair enough the green movement opposes nuclear energy on principle but if society will go ahead anyway due to large and urgent demands, then your principle must surely change to encourage the science to achieve the prize clean renewable energy - 'why cant this be nuclear why cant it be clean' who is going to encourage this achievement?

...Isn't nuclear. The nuclear farce is an unnecessary & dangerous distraction from the real problems facing humanity today; Peak OIl and Climate Change. Transition Wiki and Transition Culture provide excellent information on them, the implications, and what we can do about them. While I applaud Greenpeace's work and all the good that they have done, I think that a positive and holistic approach would make people more inclined to do something about climate change. Everyone has problems, Everyone has solutions.

Anyone who thinks that Nuclear Power is not part of an energy solution is not being open-minded at all - and what IS needed now is excatly that Open-Mindedness. I stand by my comment of earlier (below) "Nuclear Power is a neccessary evil and Greenpeace must adapt its policy to embrace Nuclear in conjunction with renewables. Renewables alone will not be able to satisfy the nation's power needs. Rightly, Coal & Gas, for many reasons, should not be considered 'future' options. Nuclear Energy is the ONLY way to ENSURE that the nation's lights don't go out. I wish it was another way, I wish renewables were more efficient, less costly and less invasive, but we're stuck with what we've got and there aren't any technology leaps on the horizon to radically change that. Greenpeace, as a member of the organisation, I urge you to reconsider your postion on Nuclear Energy". But I would add that anyone who excludes potential solutions, wether it be due to some out-dated dogma or simple pig-headed ignorance cannot be trusted to give an objective opinion. Greenpeace - I get the impression that your Strategy/Policy unit is just a bunch of nodding heads. Who do you have to act as a Devil's Advocate? You are in a Kings New Clothes scenario and I, for one, will no-longer be proud to be a member if you cannot be more inclusive in terms of solutions to help us damage the planet less. Remember "Walk gently on this Earth"?

Follow Greenpeace UK