We’ve noted before the industry spin that refers to the push for new nuclear power stations as a nuclear ‘renaissance’.

The original Renaissance saw a huge transformation in art, philosophy, politics and society as whole. It was the time when humans stepped out of the Middle Ages and into modern times. The nuclear ‘renaissance’, however, is the complete opposite of its cultural counterpart. It is backward-looking, seeking a return to old and failed methods. It stands in the way of true progress towards the development of renewable energy technology.

Whereas the original Renaissance left a hugely beneficial legacy that we still feel hundreds of years later, the nuclear ‘renaissance’ will leave nothing but danger and the threat of death and disease to future generations.

To compare a resurgent nuclear industry with a movement in human history that produced the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Galileo, and Shakespeare is to insult all concerned. The Renaissance was a vital step in human development. A report released by energy consultants Poyry this week shows that a nuclear ‘renaissance’ is anything but vital. If only politicians would show the drive and imagination of their historical forebears and declare it unnecessary and redundant.

The report shows that if the British government were to meet its renewable energy targets and its commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, no new nuclear power stations (or gas or coal like the one being opposed by the Climate Camp at Kingsnorth in the UK this week) would be needed for the UK to meet its power requirements until at least 2020. The report also says that a drive for energy efficiency and renewables will also help to ensure energy security and reduce emissions. The ‘energy gap’ that politicians and industry insiders like to frighten us with simply does not exist.

The Poyry report is an important, landmark one and it’s nothing short of a scandal that it has not received the attention it deserves from the media. It signals a safe and clean way forward for power generation and CO2 emissions reduction not offered by methods generally regarded as ‘conventional’. It doesn’t present a fantasy or a pipe-dream but a feasible, practical solution to the huge problems we face.

And if the UK could do this, why not other countries around the world. It’s not just in the UK where this thinking has taken hold. Here’s an interview in Der Spiegel with Bärbel Höhn, the deputy leader of the German Green Party's parliamentary group:

‘SPIEGEL ONLINE: The German energy agency DENA warns of a possible power shortfall if we stick to the current plans for a nuclear phase-out. In that case, only three nuclear reactors will still be in operation in 2020, and we will lack the output of 15 major power plants.

Höhn: I took a very close look at that study. This isn't quite right. To arrive at its conclusions, DENA used significantly shorter operating lives for its coal power plants than those reported to the Federal Network Agency. And if you take the second set of numbers, the power shortfall is substantially reduced. Besides, DENA came up with a lower estimate for the share coming from renewable forms of energy than the federal government. Combine all of these factors and the shortfall doesn't even exist.’

Who does this nuclear ‘renaissance’ benefit? In the face of research that shows we don’t need the nuclear industry, the answer has to be: it benefits the nuclear industry. Greenpeace and other environmentalists are often accused of scaremongering and yet here we have the evidence that powerful business lobbies are guilty of using fear as a means of securing contracts and profits.

It also benefits politicians for whom the quick and easy answer is always better than the right one in the face of the pressure of lobbying, scare tactics and vested interest from big business. And yet these politicians could be at the forefront of a renewables ‘renaissance’ and go down in history for the right, instead of the wrong, reasons. Where is someone with the vision of da Vinci when we need them?