Published: 5th Jul 2011

Energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne recently published a list of eight proposed sites for nuclear power stations. The plans for the new nuclear power plants are part of a series of national policy statements on energy which seek to provide a ‘clear policy framework’ within which future energy infrastructure decisions can be made. It’s great to see the UK government taking the issue of energy security seriously. However, I’m not convinced the same policy solutions would be reached if taking account of the full social, economic and environmental costs and benefits of different energy systems. Let’s take nuclear power generation. Firstly, there’s no way we can build nuclear power plants fast enough to meet targets for cutting carbon emissions – i.e. getting CO2 concentrations down to 350 parts per million. But that issue aside, increasing concentrations of man-made greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is making our climate system … (To read the full article, subscribe below)