Greenpeace stated today that the International Energy Agency's (IEA) endorsement of nuclear power as safe and necessary in meeting global energy demands is fundamentally flawed.
The IEA is contradicting its own earlier analysis of nuclear power(1), which concluded that it could not play a significant role in future energy supplies unless nuclear waste disposal problems are solved, nuclear proliferation risks eliminated, and public opposition to new nuclear plants is overcome. None of these issues has been resolved, in the case of waste and proliferation the problems and dangers have only got worse, and public opinion remains opposed.
However, in advance of the release next week of their World Energy outlook 2006, their chief economist, Fatih Birol, stated to the Financial Times (Thursday November 2, 2006) that nuclear power is essential to meet "climate change and energy security goals". After over half a century and billions of dollars investment, nuclear power still provides less than 3% of global energy supply, and 17% of global electricity.
"The nuclear industry and their advocates in government are clearly lobbying the world to expand nuclear power. But it is a dangerous nuclear mirage. Even if the nuclear industry could significantly increase capacity, it would take decades, cost far more than the alternatives of renewables and efficiency, and still end up delivering a small percentage of global energy. That's not even to factor in the implications around nuclear waste, proliferation and health," said Shaun Burnie of Greenpeace International.
Construction of new nuclear power plants remains limited, and high profile projects such as the new Finnish reactor are already one year behind schedule (after only one year of construction) and being investigated for illegal subsidies. Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency El Baradei warned this week of the growing nuclear proliferation risks associated with an expanded nuclear power program.
Greenpeace International will have its initial remarks and analysis of the IEA World Outlook 2006 available on Tuesday 7 November, 2006.
Other contacts: Shaun Burnie - Greenpeace International - +44 (0) 1557 814 195Mhairi Dunlop, Greenpeace International Communications, +44 (0)7801 212 960
Notes: (1) "Nuclear Power" International Energy Agency 1998