Speaking at a press conference in London yesterday (May 2), Tom Burke, Tony Juniper, Jonathon Porritt and Charles Secrett slammed plans by the Government to bring forward its new nuclear programme as an “ill-judged fixation”, arguing nuclear can’t meet the UK’s energy needs.

The group warned that the UK’s energy policy was “completely untenable”, and was putting Government in an extremely fragile position.

They further claimed that the UK nuclear industry is in “meltdown” and said that evidence for this was highlighted in the withdrawal of an application by RWE npower and E.ON to build ten new nuclear reactors in the UK.

To encourage the Government to rethink its plans a letter was sent to the prime minister David Cameron in March, outlining why his plans for another generation of nuclear subsidies were “ill-conceived” and “doomed to failure”.

A series of six briefing documents setting out the economic and political problems of nuclear have also been compiled.

Following a lack of response from the PM, the four former Friends of the Earth directors have now issued a new call to David Cameron asking him to reconsider his nuclear programme, again warning it won’t meet the UK’s energy needs.

Released yesterday, ‘Nuclear Power: A Toxic Issue for the Coalition Government’ is the last in the series of briefings, and reinforces the environmentalists economic and political arguments against nuclear power.

Charles Secrett said that the Government needs to put prejudice aside and consider other energy sources.

He said: “Nuclear power cannot meet the UK’s energy needs, while other options can. Building 10 new nuclear stations will be a very dangerous waste of public money and time, and cause household and business energy bills to soar.”

Tony Juniper added: “Far from doing away with fossil fuels, the UK’s doomed nuclear ambitions could actually make things worse. By putting political weight behind nuclear power stations that won’t actually get built, attention is being taken away from renewable energy and energy efficiency.

“By the time the policy does fail, we won’t have renewable energy on the scale we could have done and as a result we will be forced to rely on fossil power sources. The message is simple: back nuclear and get gas”.

However, politically, Jonathon Porritt warned that it is the Liberal Democrats which will bear the brunt of the blame for this policy “fiasco”.

He said: “Lib Dems have already paid a very heavy price for their participation in the Coalition Government – including the complete reversal of their former opposition to nuclear power.

“As and when this nuclear power fantasy collapses – as it assuredly will – with it will go all the Government’s objectives on renewables, energy efficiency and the whole low-carbon economy.”

Carys Matthews

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