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MPs misled over ‘nuclear cheaper and greener’ argument

Ministers and Parliament have been misled in the argument for and against nuclear power and the debate must be re-opened and a vote on the issue held, claims a report.

A corruption of governance? How Ministers and Parliament were misled says that information presented to MPs was false. The two campaign groups that published the report – the Association for the Conservation of Energy and Unlock Democracy – say that there were not formerly anti-nuclear.

“It is abundantly clear that there has been a corruption of governance. MPs and Parliament have been misled. And either Ministers were in on this misleading (which we do not believe) or they too were misled,” the report stated. “The decision to support new nuclear power stations has been made on the basis of false evidence, misrepresentation of evidence and omissions of evidence.”

Using the government’s own evidence, the authors of the report argued that the UK does not need any more new nuclear power stations to ensure power supply and reduce C02 by 80% by 2050.

They added that the evidence also showed that nuclear power is not the least expensive of all low carbon technologies and that the building of new nuclear power stations will mean higher fuel bills.

The authors of the report said MPs do not have time to read thousands of pages of reports and footnotes, references and modelling and rely on the summaries to take their stance in Parliament.

They do not accuse Ministers of deception but say that “someone has fiddled the evidence, ignored the analysis and misrepresented the conclusions of modelling”.

The report conclusion added: “Either it’s a monumental series of mistakes or the ‘nuclear lobby’ has got control of the Whitehall machine.”

 

Readers' comments (3)

  • A quick read shows the organisations reporting this and a significant proportion of senior staffing involved morphed out of Friends of the Earth and the UK Communist Party - hardly a basis for arguing about democracy, adequate evidence and objectivity!

    To be fair they may have a point, but on a quick reading of the summary attached it seems additional power capacity and replacement capacity may be confused at times, and whether nuclear is considered as renewable is not clear. Both definitions significantly affect the interpretation of what mix and types of power generation is required.

    The idea of recommending very significant bio-fuel contributions seems to discredit the report - this has been looked at ad nauseum! The other major point: criticising the unsubstantiated supplier claimed new nuclear plant life, is simply what has been offered and would be contracted by the supplier - their risk and their price! The improvements in energy efficiency and usage over and above what's anticipated at the moment as an increased energy "contribution" seem far fetched!

    What's the impact of shale gas - not mentioned in any of these Reports and yet extremely relevant and important? No Report and comparison is worth anything now without inclusion of such a major consideration!

    It would be nice to see similar UK studies taking out the CO2 reduction provisions, and/or allowing for forecast global CO2 increases over and above the present 6% per year, and 10% per year in China alone, and increasing until at the earliest 2020 when at most we only produce roughly 1.5% of global emissions. Thiis global emissions increase, apparently condoned at Durban, would increase present CO2 levels by almost 75% by 2020, making any grossly expensive but globally minute UK CO2 reduction exercises totally ineffective and therefore unnecessary! We have, in any case already reduced our 1990 Power Generation by well over 20% and could increase this to almost 50% by simply replacing CFPS's by GT's.

    Yet again, time for a proper Engineers' Debate!

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  • I suggest reading "Renewable energy withouit the hot air" by Prof David MacKay which is free on the internet. It shows how difficult it will be to get to a sustainable future without using every non-carbon source we can. I am no nuclear apologist, but have eventually accepted that we will need to look at nuclear very seriously.
    As for shale gas, this is something we certainly shouldn't be doing- we have to reduce our dependence of CO2 producing fossil fuel, not seek out every opportunity to generate more of the stuff.
    UK has a very poor record both in the total CO2 production over history and in our current per capita production. UK and EU engineers should be leading the way to a sustainable future. Much of what China and India have produced by way of CO2 has in any case been for production of goods for western consumption.

    We need to get our per capita CO2 levels as low as the Chinese. Only then can we say we have done our bit (and even that level of CO2 may not be enough to save our grandchildren from a horrendous life.) There's no room for complacency or absolving ourselves from putting our position right. We have led the world in the past and need to have the will to do it again.
    Peter Gardiner FICE

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  • I endorse Peter G's response above. Regarding the first response: we may only produce a small proportion of global CO2 emissions but we can be a big part of the solution - that is if the engineering establishment is willing to take on the challenge !

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