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The Role of Nuclear Power in a Low Carbon Economy

Classification:SDC Response, Energy, Climate Change
Document type:SDC Reports & Papers
Download:SDC-NuclearPosition-2006.pdf - 157 KB
Summary:imagePrepared as the SDC's input to the UK Government's 2006 Energy Review, The role of nuclear power in a low carbon economy draws together the most comprehensive evidence base available to find that there is no justification for bringing forward a new nuclear programme at the present time.

Based on eight new research papers, the SDC report is a balanced examination of the advantages and disadvantages of nuclear power. We recognise that nuclear power has many benefits, among them its status as a low carbon technology, and its impressive safety record in the UK. We also acknowledge that nuclear could generate large quantities of electricity, contribute to stabilising CO2 emissions and add to the diversity of the UK's energy supply.

However, the research establishes that even if the UK's existing nuclear capacity were doubled, it would only result in an 8% cut in CO2 emissions by 2035. Other disadvantages include:

1. Long-term waste
2. Cost
3. Inflexibility
4. Undermining energy efficiency
5. International security

On balance, the SDC finds that these problems outweigh the advantages of nuclear. However, the SDC does not rule out further research into new nuclear technologies and pursuing answers to the waste problem, as future technological developments may justify a re-examination of the issue.

A commentary by Jonathon Porritt

» Is nuclear the answer?

Evidence Base Papers

Paper 1: - An introduction to nuclear power - science, technology and UK policy context
Paper 2: - Reducing CO2 emissions - nuclear and the alternatives
Paper 3: - Landscape, environment and community impacts of nuclear power
Paper 4: - The economics of nuclear power
Paper 5: - Waste and decommissioning
Paper 6: - Safety and security
Paper 7: - Public perceptions and community issues
Paper 8: - Uranium resource availability

Purpose:SDC input into the 2006 UK Government's energy review.

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