Britain may not have much choice in this matter as its government seems determined to take the nuclear route in an effort to bring Co2 emissions in line with its reduction pledges and mitigate its dwindling North Sea oil and gas supplies.
Announcing plans to enter into a technology partnership with France, the UK government proposes replacing its 24 aging reactors – which currently provide 20% of the nation’s electricity – with a new set of nuclear power plants which will double Britain’s nuclear power generating capacity. In doing so, Britain hopes to become a “world leader in nuclear technology”, according to Energy Secretary John Hutton.
Whilst nuclear energy has at least one advantage in providing plentiful carbon free power, there are numerous objections, not least due to concerns over safety, long term handling and storage of radioactive waste and the potential distraction from long term renewable energy projects. Indeed, there are many complex arguments behind the nuclear question, a topic which cannot be succinctly summarised in a single blog post, and on which I must admit I lack a clear opinion.
Therefore I decided to call in some people who actually know what they are talking about.
Rod of Atomic Insights and Matt from TalkClimateChange have agreed to lend their expertise to this discussion in a currently ongoing debate on our discussion boards, which I am sure will provide the necessary depth of argument and cover the full range of pro’s and con’s.
We’ll be back with a follow-up post containing the highlights (and maybe a final opinion) from this debate next week. In the meantime, feel free to watch the debate or chime in with your views.