Articles containing the tag ‘nuclear power’

‘Sustainable Energy – without the hot air’ by David MacKay

Mackay cover

Anyone who cares about the survival of human civilisation should read this book. It is packed with facts and statistics about solutions, and shows that we must stop arguing about which is cheapest or best, because we need all of them.

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1 August 2011: Report of America’s nuclear commission is disappointing

The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s nuclear future, set up by President Obama, has now issued a draft report. It seeks to avoid the most controversial issues, and doesn’t consider the most promising new nuclear technology – thorium molten salt reactors – so is disappointing.

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1 February 2010: Chile and low-carbon energy

Last week, I went to Chile to take part in a conference about energy policy – mainly about whether Chile should build nuclear power stations. The current Chilean government has been discussing nuclear energy for the last three years, but has not said yes or no.

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10 May 2010: Can the climate wait for democracy?

The world faces an urgent climate crisis. There is no time to lose. However, the UK general election has produced no winner and, at the time of writing, it is still not clear who will form the next government.

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11 May 2009: Italy, energy and travelling by rail

Last week, I went to Rome to talk to Chicco Testa, who used to be chairman of Enel, Italy’s largest energy utility (and the third largest in Europe). He has now set up an organisation called NewClear to press Italy and other European countries to build new nuclear power stations.

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12 November 2009: Good on renewables and nuclear, less good on coal

On 9 November Ed Miliband, the UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary, published National Policy Statements outlining the government policy on energy. These are intended as guidance to the new Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC), which, from next March, is due to grant or refuse planning permission on major energy and transport infrastructure projects. The statements are good on renewables, nuclear and electricity networks, but less good on coal.

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12 October 2010: South African energy plan – the lesser of two evils

The South African government has published an energy plan which proposes a decline in the use of coal and six new nuclear power stations. The country is not short of coal, so the government should be commended for exploring alternatives.

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13 December 2013: UK energy policy going very badly

Friday the 13th – and reasons to be gloomy about UK energy policy

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13 May 2010: A new UK government

The UK has a new government and the prospects for climate policy are mixed. The promised policies on aviation and coal are stronger than those of the former Labour government. The approach to renewables is similar to that of Labour. However, the approach on nuclear power looks like a recipe for muddle and delay.

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14 April 2010: Beating the bomb

The danger of nuclear weapons proliferation is the strongest argument against using nuclear power generation as a low carbon bridge technology.

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14 July 2009: ‘Pick and mix’ approach won’t control climate change

On Monday, 13 July 2009, Ed Miliband, the UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary, opened the Little Cheyne Court wind farm in Kent. With a capacity of just under 60Mw, this is the largest wind farm in South East England.

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14 March 2011: The Japanese tsunami and nuclear power

The horrific current events in Japan must make all who favour nuclear power question our support. I have spent much of the weekend doing so, but still believe that nuclear power is a necessary, low-carbon bridge-technology, until the world can be 100% reliant on renewables.

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14 May 2014: A new narrative for European integration

Swiss paper Le Temps has now published (in French) my article on the need for a new narrative for European integration. Here is the English version.

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14 May 2014: My Economist Insight on why we need all clean energy sources

The Economist has published my short article on why we need energy efficiency plus all clean energy sources: renewables, carbon capture and storage and nuclear.

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15 July 2016: New British government: a step forward for climate strategy

The UK no longer has a department with the words ‘climate change’ in its title. Climate policy is now the responsibility of a new Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. This could be seen as a downgrading of climate action – and has been condemned by some green groups. But I think it is […]

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15 March 2012: A response to four former Friends of the Earth directors on nuclear power

Four former heads of Friends of the Earth wrote to prime minister, David Cameron, earlier this week, arguing against nuclear power. In response, five environmental authors – including me – have written to Cameron arguing in favour of new nuclear.

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15 September 2011: Which is worse, gas or nuclear?

Is gas sufficiently low-carbon to be an adequate bridge technology? No – it’s emissions for every unit of electricity produced are over three times as high as emissions from nuclear power.

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16 February 2010: Science, scepticism and denial

Robert Watson, the Chief Scientist at the UK Department of Environment, has been prominent in the media defending climate science. He accepts that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was wrong to include, in its Fourth Assessment Report, the prediction that Himalayan glaciers will be gone by 2035. However, he points out that, in other respects, the report was also cautious – some say over-cautious.

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16 June 2009: A new look at nuclear

On Saturday, I was on a panel at the World Science Festival in New York, with James Hansen of NASA and three others. Hansen’s position on nuclear can be summarised simply: it’s better than coal.

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17 December 2010: More (promised) progress from UK government

UK Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, has proposed a radical overhaul of the UK’s electricity market. This is good news, but the government must do more to combat fuel poverty.

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17 July 2009: UK low-carbon transition plan

On Wednesday 15 July 2009, the UK government published its plan to make the UK a low carbon economy. It is good on electricity, quite good on energy efficiency and heat, but bad on transport.

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17 May 2010: Italy, nuclear power and democracy

On Saturday, I was in Naples to talk at a seminar on the case for nuclear power. The most striking – and worrying – thing for me was that one of the other speakers argued that nuclear power was desirable, but not for climate reasons.

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18 April 2010: UK manifestos and climate proposals

The manifestos of the three main UK political parties, Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat, all agree that climate change is an extremely serious issue and that tackling it can be done in ways which enhance energy security and strengthen the UK economy.

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18 February 2010: Obama builds bridges through technology

In November 2009, 3% of OECD electricity was generated by renewables other than hydro. 14% came from hydro. And this was only 17% of what electricity was then used, not total energy used.

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18 January 2017: Why the Swansea tidal lagoon should be supported

Last week the former energy minister Charles Hendry published his review on tidal lagoons (https://hendryreview.wordpress.com/) I am a consultant to Tidal Lagoon Power (TLP), so not disinterested. But I think that anyone reading the report will recognise it as an extensive, evidence-based and therefore serious review. Hendry was in my view a good energy minister […]

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19 November 2015: Well done Amber Rudd

UK climate and energy policy are not perfect, but are in significantly better shape this morning than they were yesterday morning

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19 October 2010: Promoting nuclear without increasing weapons proliferation

Yesterday, I spoke at a conference in London on thorium nuclear energy and molten salt reactors. Generally, my view is that nuclear is a necessary, low-carbon bridge technology, but that, to keep costs down, the same designs should be used, as the French have done, rather than each new reactor being an ‘innovation’, which is the UK approach.

However, thorium could be a valid exception to this.

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2 April 2012: UK struggling with low-carbon bridge technologies

The UK is running another competition on CCS. But practical progress so far has been precisely zero. And Eon and RWE have pulled out of their UK nuclear joint venture. So there’s a real risk that the UK will experience another ‘dash for gas’ without CCS.

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2 July 2009: Sweden leads

Sweden has taken over the six-month presidency of the EU. It was also president when Bush withdrew the US from the Kyoto Protocol and was central in rescuing this treaty. Therefore, the arrival of Swedes is good news for the Copenhagen Conference later this year.

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2 June 2011: Prospects for nuclear power after Fukushima

New nuclear stations in the UK are far from certain. But even after Fukushima, they are not impossible.

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20 April 2010: Saudi Arabia looks beyond fossil fuels

The Saudi Arabian government has announced that it will pursue nuclear and renewable electricity to meet the country’s rising demand for energy, driven by a rapidly expanding population and industrial base, and a growing need for desalinated water. It is not unusual for a government to announce support for nuclear or renewables, but it is quite striking for the country with the world’s largest known oil reserves, and the fifth largest gas reserves, to be planning to develop alternatives to fossil fuels.

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20 July 2009: France shows it’s possible to support wind and nuclear

Opponents of nuclear power often claim that supporting nuclear will inevitably mean that renewables will suffer. However, the evidence from France shows this need not be the case.

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2015 General Election manifestos on climate change

Analyses what the parties standing UK-wide are promising to do about climate change.

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2015 Lancet Commission report on health and climate change

Key quotes from, and a few of my comments on, the excellent Lancet Commission report

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22 February 2010: Ukraine is more than just a transit country

Later this week, a new Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, will be inaugurated. The word “Ukraine” means borderland and, to most outsiders, that is exactly how the country is regarded: the place between the EU and Russia or the place through which Russian gas travels to the EU – unless the Russians turn off the taps, as they did in 2006 and 2009. However, it is more important than that, and not only to Ukrainians.

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23 February 2017: the patriotic case for climate action

My report on an impressive energy and climate speech from Lib Dem leader Tim Farron which I attended yesterday

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24 February 2014: Coalition subsidies to keep the coal fires burning

The Conservative Party is planning new subsidies for coal power stations. This is a striking historic reversal, because the Tories have traditionally been anti-coal.

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26 April 2010: Climate event for UK General Election

This morning I attended an event called ‘Ask a Climate Question’ organised by a coalition of environment and development groups. The most striking aspect of the discussion was that, with the exception of nuclear power, there was broad consensus among the four parties.

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26 April 2012: Germany planning several new fossil fuel plants

Germany is planning several new coal and gas power stations – without CCS – to replace its nuclear stations. This is bad for the climate and also a waste of money.

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26 November 2009: UK Conservatives promise progress

Last night, I went to hear the UK’s shadow foreign secretary, William Hague, give a speech about what a UK Conservative government would do about diplomacy and climate change. This is one of a series of speeches on climate from the shadow cabinet this week, which is encouraging.

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27 May 2010: UK bills and bonfires

The new UK government has now announced its legislative programme for the next 18 months and there is to be another energy bill. This is a good Bill and should be supported. The government has also announced how it will begin to reduce the deficit.

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27 September: ‘Green Ed’ Miliband

Ed Miliband was a good Energy and Climate Change Secretary, so the UK now has a ‘green’ Prime Minister, ‘green’ Energy Secretary and ‘green’ Leader of the Opposition. Now for some delivery…

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28 March 2011: Merkel punished for opportunism

Yesterday’s election in the German region Baden-Württemberg, one of Germany’s richest regions, saw Angela Merkel’s CDU lose power after over half a century in office and there can be little doubt that the campaign was heavily influenced by the Japanese nuclear issue.

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29 July 2011: Jonathon Porritt on nuclear power

Comments on Jonathon Porritt’s arguments against nuclear power.

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29 July 2016: Open letter to Greg Clark MP on Hinkley review

Dear Greg, Congratulations on your appointment to run BEIS. I welcome the creation of the new department (see http://climateanswers.info/2016/07/15-july-2016-new-british-government-a-step-forward-for-climate-strategy/). And it is great to have you back working on energy and climate change. I also welcome your decision to review the Hinkley Point C proposal, following yesterday’s Final Investment Decision by EDF. The UK needs […]

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29 November 2013: politics beating policy in UK and EU

UK energy policy is in utter confusion, but is EU policy any better?

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31 December 2009: Some progress in 2009 – though not nearly enough

The lack of substantial progress at Copenhagen, though not unexpected, has left many people close to despondency on climate change. There is now a serious danger that they will lose interest. More worrying is the danger that the media will lose interest, leading to politicians doing likewise.

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6 April 2010: The UK general election – climate and money

Today, the general election campaign will almost certainly begin formally, though, in practice, it has been well underway all year.

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7 December 2015: UK climate and energy policy: small steps forward, large steps backwards

The advance represented by Energy and Climate Secretary Amber Rudd’s ‘reset’ speech on 18 November has been pretty comprehensively destroyed by Chancellor George Osborne.

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7 January 2014: Energiewende and schadenfreude

The German “Energiewende” is not doing as well as often claimed; but climate protection is too important for point-scoring or schadenfreude.

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7 June 2010: Subsidies should be switched

Low carbon energy sources – renewables, CCS and nuclear – all require public financial support. In the UK, the new government has said that there will be no subsidy for new nuclear power stations. Before the general election, the Conservatives said that there would be no subsidy and the Liberal Democrats remain anti-nuclear. Without financial support, no new nuclear stations will be built. Nor will any renewables or CCS – offshore wind and CCS are, in the view of many, going to be even more expensive than nuclear.

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8 November 2011: European Climate Foundation roadmap

Comment on the launch of the European Climate Foundation’s latest report, Power Perspectives 2030.

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9 December 2009: Small steps in the UK budget, much larger ones in the US

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, today gave his pre-budget report to parliament. This included some good climate measures.

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Agriculture and forests

coppiced-wood

Agriculture is only directly responsible for a small percentage of carbon emissions, but it is responsible for a higher percentage of total greenhouse gas emissions due to emissions of methane (particularly from cows) and nitrous oxide (from the use of manure and artificial fertilizers). As far as forests are concerned, as well as being beautiful, vital for biodiversity and home to millions of people, they are crucial carbon sinks.

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Cleaning the neighbourhood: How the EU can scrub out bad energy policy

The EU should not buy electricity from countries with highly-polluting coal power stations, and should instead support efficiency and clean energy in these countries.

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Climate action is more important than the single market

CER has now published my policy brief on ‘State aid and energy: climate action is more important than the single market’.

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Climate Answers: Technology, policy and behaviour

question-mark1

Our website, Climateanswers.info, is broadly split up into three: technological answers, political answers and behavioural answers.

Why have we done this?

Well, this site is really about actions and not prohibitions – what we can do, rather than just what we shouldn’t. We do not wear hair shirts at Climate Answers and we are born optimists!

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Climate powers, policy and performance in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and London

Green Union Jack

The Labour Party came to power in 1997 committed to devolving powers to Scotland and Wales, and re-creating a London-wide government. It was also determined to improve the political situation in Northern Ireland and was willing to use devolution to achieve this. Therefore, the last 12 years have seen considerable change to the constitution of the UK. Climate change was not a driving force behind any of this, but, nevertheless, the new tiers of government have had significant impact on what the UK is doing.

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Comments to European Commission on Hinkley and state aid

My comments to the European Commission, saying that it should approve the UK government’s application to sign a contract with EDF energy to build a new nuclear power station.

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Draft EU radioactive waste directive

It is good news that the European Commission is addressing the nuclear waste issue. However, the draft directive is not particularly strong, not very ambitious and wrong to promote deep disposal as its preferred waste management option.

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Electric vehicles

smart-car1

In my opinion, electric vehicles should be strongly supported. Those concerned about climate change too often take an overly anti-car position.

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General Election Manifestos 2010: Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Greens on Electricity and Heat

Manifesto

All three main UK parties take climate seriously and promise to reduce emissions and expand low-carbon energy. They all recognise the energy security and employment benefits. This article includes quotations from the relevant parts of the manifestos of the three main parties on heat and electricity – energy efficiency, fuel poverty and energy production.

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How low-carbon are different generating technologies?

Wind energy

No form of electricity generation is entirely free of carbon emissions. So just how carbon free are the main types?

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How to reduce dependence on Russian gas

My CER blog on how Europe should reduce its dependence on Russian gas

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In Defence of Pragmatism

Climate campaigners should be more pragmatic and more prepared to make compromises. Pragmatism often delivers progress; idealism rarely does.

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My Ecologist article on nuclear power

The Ecologist, an anti-nuclear magazine, has published my article defending nuclear power.

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My position on GMOs

The Centre for European Reform has now published my article on GMOs. This post explains why I am now giving a public opinion, having kept quiet for several years.

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My response to government decision to approve Hinkley Point C nuclear power station

The EPR is not the most promising reactor design – very complex and so very expensive. But now that the Government has decided to go with the EDF proposal, I hope Hinkley Point C is built as quickly as possible, without major problems and without going significantly over budget. And Greg Clark can now turn […]

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Myths about climate change and renewable energy, and how to debunk them

Myths

There are several myths or misunderstandings that have grown up surrounding climate change and renewable energy. Both sides of the debate can be at fault. This article tries to debunk some of nonsense that is often cited as fact.

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Nuclear energy, no thanks – we’ll do it ourselves

Three months after the Fukashima nuclear reactor caught fire, Germany decided to phase out nuclear power. The decision stunned Europe’s energy policy community. Nuclear presently provides a quarter of Germany’s electricity – how would it plug the gap?

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October 2015: Committee on Climate Change report on electricity scenarios

The Committee on Climate Change sensibly calls for an ‘all of the above’ approach to decarbonisation.

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Pandora’s Promise – the Stephen Tindale interview

This is a link to a YouTube film involving my interview with Robert Stone, who was the director of the film Pandora’s Promise.

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Political and economic pressure may be the only solution for Canada

alberta-tar-sands-2

Climate change is a contentious topic in Canada, largely due to the nation’s long-standing ties to the fossil fuel industry. At the forefront of Canadian discourse on this topic is the Province of Alberta’s famous “dirty” tar sands oil production. This is followed closely by the coal-fired electricity industry. From a high-level perspective, these two well-established, carbon-intensive industries, combined with the provincial and federal governments’ reluctance to limit their emissions in a meaningful way, form the basis upon which Canada has historically failed to engage in climate change discussions and continues to fail to significantly address climate change.

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Question: Are the French really that keen on wind power?

Question mark #2

I agree that wind and nuclear energy are not intrinsically opposed to each other. However, France only has wind power because it’s forced to by the European Union.

David Walters

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Question: Can we build enough nuclear power stations and will the nuclear industry turn them off when they are not needed?

Question mark #2

Will it be possible to build all the necessary nuclear power stations in time, what emission savings can be made and will the nuclear industry close them down when and if they are not needed?

Shaun Bernie

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Question: What do you think about “alternative” nuclear technologies”?

Question mark #2

Have you ever looked at “alternative” nuclear technologies, for example molten salt reactors (or liquid fluorides as today are termed)?

Allessandro De Maida

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Question: Why should I accept nuclear power with no strategy for its wasted disposal?

How are you going to persuade people like me to accept new nuclear power plants when no-one seems to have a strategy for dealing with the radioactive waste from the old installations?

Caroline Westgate

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Repowering communities

People power

I am writing a book, with Prashant Vaze and Peter Meyer on the role that local, regional and state governments should play in increasing energy efficiency and promoting low carbon energy. This will be published by Earthscan in 2011.

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Saving the planet means changing your mind

Video of my TEDx talk about how I had to change my view on nuclear energy when I realised that it is necessary during the low-carbon transition.

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South Africa and climate change

south20africa20power20lines1

The ANC government has connected 80% of all South Africans to the electricity grid – one of its greatest successes. However, this mass electrification programme, combined with strong economic growth and rapid industrialisation, meant that demand for power outstripped supply in early 2008.

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The case for a Clean Energy Alliance

The low-carbon energy sectors – efficiency, most renewables, CCS and nuclear – should work together more strategically

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The case for nuclear power

nuclear_power_trawsfynydd1120

In my opinion, everyone should support the construction of new nuclear power stations in the UK.

I have spent the last two decades arguing and campaigning against nuclear power, working for NGOS, think tanks and the government. However, the climate crisis is now so great that we must do everything we can – whatever the economic cost – to control it.

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The impact of Brexit on clean energy

What will be the impact of Brexit on clean energy in the UK? Answer: nobody knows, because nothing is remotely clear in British politics now. Who will be prime minister? Will there be an early general election? What will be the relationship between the UK and the remaining EU member-states? Will there even be a […]

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Thorium: How to save Europe’s nuclear revival

The Centre for European Reform (CER) has now published my short report on what the EU should do about nuclear power after the events at Fukushima.

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UK planning statements on energy, November 2009

Plot of land for sale

Yesterday (9 November 2008), the UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Miliband, published National Policy Statements (NPS) outlining the government policy on energy. They consist of guidance to the new Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC), which, from next March, is due to grant or refuse planning permission on major energy and transport infrastructure projects. The statements are area a mixed bag – good on renewables, nuclear and electricity networks, but less good on coal.

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What the new Conservative government means for UK energy policy

Tory manifesto indicates no major change in energy policy, with exception of end to subsidy for onshore wind. But UK engagement with EU energy union looking less likely.

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Why can’t we get to clean energy without using nuclear power?

Why can’t we get to clean energy without using nuclear power?

Russell Frerichs

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