The UK’s government announced its ‘Strategic Siting Assessment system’ this week. It will decide on ‘credible’ sites for the country’s new generation of nuclear power stations.
Moving past the multitude of problems and potential disasters the industry presents (as Greenpeace have pointed out), we note that the UK Business Secretary, John Hutton, had this to say in the announcement:
‘Nuclear power is an essential part of our future energy mix. And, alongside a 10-fold increase in renewables and investment in clean coal technology, it will help wean us off our dependency on oil and protect us against the politicisation of energy supplies.’
You read that correctly. The British government believes that nuclear energy will protect the country against ‘the politicisation of energy supplies’. Just how Mr Hutton thinks this is the case he doesn’t explain. Probably because the assertion is wrong, rubbish, and risible.
Is the UK self-sufficient in uranium? Certainly not. That means it has to buy it from other countries. As we’ve already discussed, there are only a number of uranium producing countries and you don’t have to travel very far down the list before you’re dealing with hardcore human rights abusers. How’s that for the ‘the politicisation of energy supplies’? How does dealing with unstable regimes provide ‘energy security’?
And then, a US State Department advisory body (chaired by no less a figure than Iraq war architect Paul Wolfowitz) has recently suggested the US and six other producer nations get together to form a ‘uranium bank’ to control supply. The world already has an oil cartel and now we’re to have a uranium one as well? Again, how’s that for the ‘the politicisation of energy supplies’?
Are we to expect that this cartel’s decisions won’t be politicised in the face of growing competition for uranium whose supply, we might add, is expected to run out before the end of the century at current rates of consumption?
With a reckless push for nuclear power about to commence across the planet, that rate of consumption and competition would accelerate. We risk swapping fighting over scarce oil resources for fighting over scarce uranium resources. What could cause more ‘politicisation of energy supplies’ than that? We wonder if the likes of Mr Hutton are fooling anybody but themselves.