Pro-nuclear wishful thinking ignores real world economics

The UK Government's ambitions for new nuclear reactors financed and operated by the private sector with no public subsidies to underpin them are straight out of fantasyland and cannot be used to justify any nuclear expansion in Australia, according to ACF.

Fifty years of overseas experience shows nuclear power cannot survive without massive Government subsidies and ongoing taxpayer-funded insurance.

"Tony Blair's energy review relies on a lot of wishful nuclear thinking and conveniently ignores the advice of his own Sustainable Development Commission which just four months ago found there was no justification for new nuclear reactors in the UK," said ACF Nuclear Campaigner David Noonan.

"The Sustainable Development Commission report concluded nuclear power was no answer to climate change or to Britain's energy security questions because of the cost, the inflexibility (it would lock the UK into a rigid centralised distribution system for the next half century), the security risks and the intractable problem of radioactive waste."

Independent analysis puts the UK nuclear industry's tally of subsidies and bail-outs at a staggering £70 billion (AUD$175 billion) so far.

"Then there's the clean up and de-commissioning. The UK Government recently increased by 25% a 2002 cost estimate for de-commissioning its ageing reactors and managing its ever-growing stockpile of nuclear waste. The new estimate reveals a £56 billion (AUD$140 billion) public liability left by the nuclear industry.

"There are lessons for Australia in the track record of the UK nuclear industry. Nuclear power is too dirty, too dangerous, too expensive and far too slow to be considered as a solution to the urgent issue of climate change.

"Since the Federal Government launched its pro-nuclear inquiry there's been lots of political rhetoric but silence on the big questions of postcodes and prices.

"A secure energy future requires a shift from dirty, dangerous energy sources towards safe clean renewable energy solutions and energy efficiency."