As you’ll know, another round of international climate change negotiations took place last week in Cancun, Mexico. You can read Greenpeace’s response to the outcome of the talks here.

What of attempts to have nuclear power included in the Clean Development Mechanism? The CDM is a system set up under the Kyoto Protocol which allows industrialised countries committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions to earn carbon credits by investing in low-carbon projects in developing countries rather than building more expensive projects in their own countries.

Nuclear energy was specifically excluded from the CDM at the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change conference in 2001. Needless to say the nuclear industry has been lobbying hard for its inclusion ever since.

Here’s a copy of the excellent speech Sabine Bock from Women in Europe for a Common Future gave in Cancun. It’s an excellent summary of why nuclear power is a dead end and must not be included in international efforts to fight climate change.


My name is Sabine Bock from Women in Europe for a Common Future and I speak on behalf of 300 NGOs and women networks representing millions of individuals from 50 countries in every corner of the planet and many more people in the world who have signed our petitions to keep nuclear energy out of the Clean Development Mechanism.

The reason for that is obvious:

Nuclear energy is polluting. The entire fuel cycle of the nuclear process from uranium mining to the disposal of high level radioactive waste produces great harm to people’s health and our environment now and for thousands of years. Radioactivity even in low doses is a risk and causes illnesses.

Nuclear power has brought great injustice to the indigenous peoples of the world on whose territories the uranium is mined and the nuclear wastes are often stored.

Nuclear power is meaningless for energy supply: after trillions of dollars of investments and 50 years of development, nuclear energy represents still only 2% of all energy used worldwide. Renewable energy sources already cover nearly 20%.

Nuclear power takes away much needed money for energy efficiency and renewable energy sources — which replace several times more carbon for the same cost, and achieve the desired carbon reduction more rapidly.

Nuclear power slows down countries development as it takes decades before they produce energy. Energy saving, efficiency and renewable energies, on the contrary, can bring safe energy everywhere today and tomorrow!

Nuclear plants have had to be powered down because of consequences of climate change as the increased temperatures of river water has been unable to assure cooling. Forest fires could lead to a global disaster by approaching radioactive contaminated areas and nuclear power plants as nearly happened this summer.

Activities related to nuclear power must therefore NOT be allowed to become eligible for the Kyoto Protocol’s flexible mechanisms as they are a barrier to the necessary development of safe, effective, and affordable energy sources – both in developing and industrialized countries. The environmental integrity of the CDM is already questioned by many, due to an increasing number of unsustainable projects that have been included.

Allowing nuclear energy projects would turn CDM into a farce. It would undermine the integrity and credibility of the entire international climate regime and in particular the Kyoto Protocol.

Thank you.

Update: No change for nuclear in Cancún. The nuclear industry is worried that 'meaningful decisions on the future of nuclear power in the Clean Development Mechanism remain for future discussion'. With the hope fading for the nuclear 'renaissance' in places like the UK, it looks doubtful whether that future discussion will ever happen.