Success as government's nuclear plans ruled unlawful

Posted by jamie — 15 February 2007 at 9:00am - Comments

The government's decision to back nuclear power was ruled as unlawful by the High Court

In a major blow to the government's plans to reinvigorate nuclear power in the UK, the High Court has ruled their decision to back a programme of new nuclear power stations was unlawful.

The case we brought to challenge that decision, presented at the end of the government's flawed energy review, was upheld by Mr Justice Sullivan who stated that "something has gone clearly and radically wrong" with the process.

It's a massive blow to the government's plans and, as a result, a new and fuller review will have to be conducted if they want to justify their continued support of nuclear power.

Sarah North, head of our nuclear campaign, said: "The government's so-called consultation on nuclear power was obviously a sham, and we're pleased that the judge has agreed with us.

"The government completely failed to consult adequately and even kept relevant documents to themselves. They've now been forced back to the drawing board to conduct a proper and lengthy review."

A full and frank review?
In 2003, the energy white paper put nuclear power on the backburner and the government committed itself to the fullest public consultation before any future decision was taken to reintroduce support for new nuclear power stations.

However, the review process conducted last year was fundamentally flawed, failing to present proposals and information on key issues surrounding a new generation of nuclear power stations. These included how radioactive waste would be handled and what the financial costs would be.

Mr Justice Sullivan agreed and in his opinion the review was "seriously flawed" and the process was "manifestly inadequate" and "unfair" because insufficient and "misleading" information had been made available by the government for consultees to make an "intelligent response".

Nuclear power is no solution
Even if the government does conduct a further review, the nuclear option is not one that should be pursued. Their central argument that it will help fight climate change is a poor one - nuclear power only provides 3.6 per cent of our total energy needs.

On top of that, the first new reactor would not come online until 2018 at the earliest, with the bulk arriving in 2025-2030. Yet we need to make reductions in CO2 emissions now, not in 20 years time.

It remains to be seen whether the government will go back to the drawing board and reconsult over the future of nuclear power in the UK, but in the meantime we will still be pushing for practical, effective and immediate solutions to climate change such as decentralised energy.

can i ask if u are sayin nucular power stil poses great threat with radio activw waste but it could potentaly be a solution if it is avalible now?

No, we're not saying that nuclear power would be a solution to climate change if this proposed new generation of stations were to come online tomorrow. There would still be the waste issue which no one has an answer to, plus the very real possibility of accidents or leaks.

The time it would take to build these new stations only demonstrates how they aren't a viable proposition - we need action to cut our emissions right now, not in 15 or 20 years time.

web editor
gpuk

It seems that the biggest objection to new power stations is the fear of waste disposal.
Maybe, insted of wasting all those clever young brains on building virtual towns, they could be concentrating on ways to utilise the ever live power and energy contained inside the nuclear waste?
Virtual life is great, (on the net), get real, it wont work on the ground. Too many human failings to take into consideration. Be it, falling down on the job, passing the buck, or the old favorite, frightened to make a decision in case it affects their jobs.... More positive action is needed in my opinion.
BL.

Hey LouLou,

last we heard the government wants to build 10 new reactors by 2024, but given the nuclear industry’s poor track record it's highly unlikely that ten reactors could be built within two decades. And even if they succeeded our carbon emissions would only be cut by four per cent (that's because the new reactors will only produce electricity, and will largely be replacing existing plants going out of commission): far too little, far too late.

Cheers,

Joss
GPUK webteam

Is it correct that 5 new power plants have been planned and proposed to start up between 2017 and 2020?

If so, was this allowed to go ahead by a court decision?

Everyone keeps talking about nuclear waste. I don't know what is wrong with burying it very deep underground. Nobody expects large mountains to disintegrate in 1000 years, and in the same manner nobody can reasonably expect the release of such waste from geological containment in less than 1000 years.

Also I do not understand the Greenpeace actions that intend to prevent transportation of nuclear waste. Reprocessing cuts down the volume of high level waste by 90%, so a very big, 1000MW reactor produces roughly a cubic metre of high level waste a year. To put this in perspective, roughly 20 square kilometers of solar panels in the desert are needed to provide 1000MW of average effective power. The problem of nuclear waste is solvable, but not if all attempts to solve it are torpedoed by environmental movements (which, ironically, are the ones most concerned about that problem).

It seems that the biggest objection to new power stations is the fear of waste disposal. Maybe, insted of wasting all those clever young brains on building virtual towns, they could be concentrating on ways to utilise the ever live power and energy contained inside the nuclear waste? Virtual life is great, (on the net), get real, it wont work on the ground. Too many human failings to take into consideration. Be it, falling down on the job, passing the buck, or the old favorite, frightened to make a decision in case it affects their jobs.... More positive action is needed in my opinion. BL.

Hey LouLou, last we heard the government wants to build 10 new reactors by 2024, but given the nuclear industry’s poor track record it's highly unlikely that ten reactors could be built within two decades. And even if they succeeded our carbon emissions would only be cut by four per cent (that's because the new reactors will only produce electricity, and will largely be replacing existing plants going out of commission): far too little, far too late. Cheers, Joss GPUK webteam

Is it correct that 5 new power plants have been planned and proposed to start up between 2017 and 2020? If so, was this allowed to go ahead by a court decision?

Everyone keeps talking about nuclear waste. I don't know what is wrong with burying it very deep underground. Nobody expects large mountains to disintegrate in 1000 years, and in the same manner nobody can reasonably expect the release of such waste from geological containment in less than 1000 years. Also I do not understand the Greenpeace actions that intend to prevent transportation of nuclear waste. Reprocessing cuts down the volume of high level waste by 90%, so a very big, 1000MW reactor produces roughly a cubic metre of high level waste a year. To put this in perspective, roughly 20 square kilometers of solar panels in the desert are needed to provide 1000MW of average effective power. The problem of nuclear waste is solvable, but not if all attempts to solve it are torpedoed by environmental movements (which, ironically, are the ones most concerned about that problem).

Well done, team - the site is beautiful :)

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