I can not agree with Antony Oliver that renewables can plug the gap as nuclear plants are decommissioned. Plugging a larger percentage of the country's energy requirement into the national grid from renewable sources will mean a major overhaul of its supply system. The country simply cannot cope with fluctuating levels of energy being put into the system.
It is also not cheap in the short term. Where will we put these wind farms and hydro plants- Will they provide a constant viable alternative- The efficiency of these technologies are still in their infancy, and until more research is carried out and efficiency is improved they remain only fit for laboratory experiments.
The decommissioning costs of the old nuclear sites are mainly down to us cleaning up a mess created by a generation that did not know how to deal with nuclear waste. We are having to assess the problems and spend large amounts of money finding out what it is we are trying to clean up.
New technologies and processes mean that in future this cost can be managed more effectively with much less impact on the environment.
David Leaver, David. leaver@kier. co. uk