Greenpeace activists paint a symbolic crack on dome at the Tihange Nuclear Plant in Belgium.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) was set up as a Western
counterpart to OPEC, with the aim of "controlling and regulating
the oil stocks" of its developed-country membership. The IEA's
approach to energy has lacked imagination for as long as it has
existed and its analysis perpetuates antiquated thinking.
"It should come as no surprise that the IEA's World Energy
Outlook, prepared with the assistance of the Nuclear Energy Agency,
the International Atomic Energy Agency and the nuclear industry
would promote nuclear power," said Jim Riccio, Greenpeace nuclear
"Trying to solve global warming with more nuclear reactors will
not address catastrophic climate change and will only further
spread the knowledge and materials to make nuclear weapons. We're
smart enough to address catastrophic climate change without
increasing the risks of nuclear proliferation."
For the same carbon savings, nuclear power costs up to ten times
as much as energy efficiency measures. It creates huge security and
environmental threats that will last for tens of thousands of
years. It contributes to the birth of nuclear weapons states like
North Korea. It creates tantalizing targets for terrorists.
Greenpeace energy campaigner Sarah North, stated, "Nuclear sucks
crucial investment from genuine solutions, like decentralised
energy, renewables and energy efficiency. Global warming needs a
global solution, but unless we want every dictator in the world to
have access to enriched uranium, nuclear power can't be that
Here's just a handful of flaws in the IEA report:
- Nuclear power only produces electricity, and thus only
marginally deals with our need for services such as hot water and
central heating, and doesn't meet our energy needs for transport at
all. Instead of focusing solely on electricity production,
governments need to address the energy system as a whole.
- US researchers from the respected Rocky Mountain Institute have
estimated that for the same investment, energy efficiency can
achieve up to ten times more carbon savings than nuclear
- The IEA's nuclear plan would require more than 200 new reactors
in the next 24 years. Climate scientists warn we have ten years to
act. Nuclear power plants that come on line in 2025 to 2030 will
begin replacing coal and oil too late to meet the short term need
for emission reductions.
- The capital and subsidies for such an unrealistic expansion
would be so huge that they would strangle investment in renewables
and energy-efficiency, which the world desperately needs. Nuclear
would prevent the very change the IEA is calling for.
- The report grossly underestimates the ready potential of energy
efficiency and renewable energy - which already play a larger role
than the IEA projects for nuclear power in 2030.
The good news is: there's a better way than that offered by the
Contrary to the IEA plan, it is possible to cut emissions by
half by 2050 and meet everyone's energy supply needs without new
nuclear power or carbon capture and storage.
By maximizing energy efficiencies and renewable energies, we can
supply the energy we need sustainably, safely and economically -
all while averting dangerous climate change.
Simply put, nuclear power is unnecessary, it's uneconomical and