Tony Blair's legacy to future generations is more nuclear waste and inaction on real global warming solutions.
Back in 2003 the UK government rejected nuclear power in an
energyreview, correctly stating that the massive investments
required to buildnew nuclear power plants would mean no money to
invest in renewables andenergy efficiency.
But the powerful, well-connected nuclear industry wasn't going
to takethat lying down. They threw huge amounts of money into a PR
campaignclaiming that nuclear energy was going to save the world
from climatechange and provide energy security. And right on cue,
Tony Blairstarted talking like a nuclear energy lobbyist.
Rubber stamp nuclear review
Blair started to make public speeches in favour of morenuclear
power and announced another government energy review only two
yearsafter the last one. Not surprisingly the latest energy
review was stacked in favour of proving Blair is right about
the need for more nuclear power and it
did just that.
But Blair's obsession with nuclear power wasn't only a
pre-emptive strike on theenergy review process; it has also
undermined the review's owncommitments to renewables and
"Tony Blair is fixated with getting new nuclear power stations
built,"said Stephen Tindale, Greenpeace UK executive director, "and
that meansanything substantial in this review that supports clean
green energywill be fatally undermined as long as Blair remains
Prime Minister. Youcan't roll out new nuclear power stations and
build widespreadsustainable energy projects. The reality is that
nuclear sucks up allthe money. There is an enormous radioactive
cloud hanging over thisenergy review which threatens to drown any
positive moves ondecentralised energy, renewables and energy
Nuclear is a climate red herring
Blair claims that the UK needs nuclear power. He claims it will
help to cutUK carbon emissions and ensure energy security. But
building 10 new nuclearreactors would only deliver a four percent
cut in CO2 emissions by2024: far too little, too late to combat
climate change. And nuclearpower's overall contribution to total UK
energy demand is so tiny (only3.6 percent) that it can only
marginally affect energy security.
This UK government policy puts it at odds with other European
nationswho have ditched nuclear power. In May 2006
Spain joined Sweden,Germany, Italy and Belgium as the fifth
European country to abandonnuclear power. Maybe Tony Blair should
listen more to these countriesand less to the nuclear industry
The only reactor under construction in western Europe, in
Finland, isalready 12 months behind schedule after just one year of
building, withsignificant cost over-runs and serious quality
Making a million year nuclear mess
Building new nuclear plants ignores the fact that there is no
solutionwhat to do with waste current ones are producing. Every
child knows youshould clean up your current mess before making a
new one. Tony Blairis not the only one conveniently forgetting this
lesson. The US istalking to Russia about a deal to allow it to dump
nuclear waste fromUS reactors in Russia.
Generating nuclear waste is bad enough, shipping it half way
around theworld to Russia that has a terrible record on nuclear
safety is clearlya desperate attempt to put the waste 'out of
sight, out of mind'.Unless of course you are unlucky enough to live
near a transport routeor nuclear waste dump.
The challenge of global warming demands real leadership; those
whochose the expensive, dangerous distraction represented by
nuclear powerwill not be remembered kindly by future generations
dealing withdangerous climate change and our nuclear waste.
Get our free monthly e-zine to find out how you can take part in the energy revolution, substituting safe, clean, renewables for nuclear and fossil fuels.
Donate and become a member today.