Login Register

Jonathan Porritt criticises deal for nuclear reactors in UK

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: November 06, 2012

Jonathan Porritt

Jonathan Porritt

Comments (0)

"COMPLETELY misguided" is how environmentalist Jonathan Porritt describes a multi-million pound deal to build six new nuclear reactors in the UK.

Mr Porritt, who lives in Cheltenham, has spoken out after Japanese firm Hitachi brokered a £700 million deal to build the six new nuclear power reactors, and David Cameron's declared the bid as a "multi-billion pound vote of confidence."

Oldbury in South Gloucestershire is one of the previously decommissioned nuclear sites now expecting a new reactor.

Mr Porritt granted that "lots of people" thought nuclear was the way forward, "including a lot of environmentalists".

Related content

But "the truth of it, is an entirely misguided position that is being developed here," he said.

Speaking on the BBC's Sunday Politics West Midlands programme, Mr Porritt said: "You heard from the advocates there that it will take three to four years for them to get permitting for this new reactor design, nothing will be built until the first half of the next decade, every single new reactor brings significant delays with it, the cost increases all the time, (and) these reactors start at an asking price of £7billion."

As to claims new graduates will benefit from the 12,000 jobs hoped to be created out of Hitachi's nuclear development, Mr Porritt remained sceptical.

"It's possible they (graduates) might find some jobs in India and China, which will be building new reactors, but I think it's absolutely unlikely that they'll get any jobs here in the UK, apart from getting rid of the old nuclear programming, the decommissioning," he added.

Mr Porritt also reinforced his position that there "was absolutely no chance whatsoever" he would ever be convinced by the case for nuclear.

His remarks on the life span of the project were qualified by Horizon's chief operating officer, Alan Raymer, who said the company, now being taken over by Hitachi, "would expect to complete the licensing process in three to four years," and for the plants to be up and running "in the early 2020s".

A long-term blogger, Mr Porritt, who co-founded the green pressure group Forum for the Future, recently wrote of how he was "staggered" by how many people "think there is a role for nuclear power in the UK".

Read more from Gloucestershire Echo

Do you have something to say? Leave your comment here...

max 4000 characters
  • Spud0  |  November 07 2012, 9:08AM

    The National Audit Office stated today the UK's Nuclear Storage facility "poses an intolerable risk"! It's in the news today, this has been known for a long time and something the nuclear industry tries to hide and have mis-led the UK about the problems caused by radioactive waste that costs the UK taxpayer billions to manage. See http://tinyurl.com/d5j87j6 Jonathan Porritt is right and I say the pro-nuclear propoganda should not be trusted!

    Rate   -1
    Report
  • pingu61  |  November 07 2012, 8:06AM

    I partially agree with Jonathon Porrit. However, I do think that nuclear has got to be part of our energy mix. In the same way, I think the shale gas (extracted by fracking) has got to be part of the mix. However we need to minimise the use of these, to reduce nuclear waste, dependency on imported uranium (usually from unstable countries - very limited resource in the UK), the risks of nuclear accidents, associated with natural disasters, man-made attacks and the use of uncertified components (South Korea nuclear headline yesterday), storage facilities low life (Sallafields headline today). We also need to minimise the use of shale gas, to reduce the risks of water table contamination, induced earthquakes, and uncertainties of availability. I do agree with him, that the risk of escalating costs for the nuclear plants is very high indeed. Todays headline about inadequate waste storage at Sellafield demonstrates how difficult it is to contain this stuff for 50 to 60 years – let alone the required thousands of years. However. I know that Jonathon also supports fracking shale gas. I think the similar cost escalation will apply to fracking shale gas, especially if water table contamination occurs. To minimise the infrastructure and fuel costs for these, renewables must play a big part, as does demand-side management and storage. The cost of wind turbines and solar panels is known, very low, and fixed (especially for wind. Solar has the advantage of generating power during higher demand period in the day). I think we should be using them as much as we can to minimise the ongoing costs of running Nuclear and Fracking. The other thing we need to be doing is investment and research in energy storage (for electrical and heat energy) and technologies which reduce energy use (especially research into effective use of RHI – the governments "Green Deal" initiative is a joke!) No magic answers, but this country needs to invest in a diverse portfolio of energy generation strategies. We also need to understand the limitations and risks associated with each technology.

    Rate   2
    Report
  • Coingrass  |  November 06 2012, 10:46PM

    If we can afford 12 billion pounds a year in foreign aid - most of which gets misappropriated anyway - then we can afford a new generation of nuclear power stations. The problem is that earlier generations of nuclear power stations were funded by the state ie taxpayer, but now the costs have been pushed onto the suppliers and they are not keen to put up the massive initial funding and then have to wait decades for a return on their investment. So don't hold your breathe that any new stations will actually get built, especially if we get cracking with shale gas fracking. Personally, I'm saving up for my own generator!

    Rate   2
    Report
  • Shireresident  |  November 06 2012, 7:39PM

    Looking at the lovely Jonathon there's obviously still a market for nuclear hair dye chez Porritt. I do hope it's made from responsibly sourced oak galls.

    Rate   2
    Report
  • SG1970  |  November 06 2012, 4:38PM

    Spud - EDF are specifically building the Nuclear power stations for German use. The Germans are also paying for waste disposal and running of the plant. They have been paying both the UK and France to deal with their current waste. Their Gas supply will mainly be Russian. How more exposed to an energy ransom do you want to be for the sake of a bit of lip service to being supposedly green? Remember what happens to former Russian states who have their annual argument Moscow over payment, which usually ends in Russia turning the taps off briefly. They won't be laughing in Germany when they get sucked in because their supply crosses on of these countries. Although EDF will help them out by selling very expensive electricity to them to make up the shortfall. It's OK to be green, but don't screw the country over, or leave it in a very vulnerable position for the sake of pride.

    Rate   2
    Report
  • Spud0  |  November 06 2012, 4:09PM

    Sweden are going nuclear but Germany the most powerful country in Europe are abandoning it, the French to do supply nuclear electric over the border, but then the French get to pay to look after the waste. The issue here is the radioactive waste and questions on it go unanswered. I note the nuclear lobbyists here don't like talking about the cost of looking after the radioactive waste, it costs the UK taxpayer billions every year leaving the power companies millions in profits from producing it. The cost of looking after the radioactive waste will need to be paid for for thousands of years to come and leaving it for generations to come is wrong.

    Rate   -3
    Report
  • 2ladybugs  |  November 06 2012, 3:35PM

    sorry that last comment was for Bonkim

    Rate   1
    Report
  • 2ladybugs  |  November 06 2012, 3:34PM

    No the nuclear power situation. How far down the road they are with implementing etc.

    Rate   2
    Report
  • SG1970  |  November 06 2012, 3:33PM

    Spud - Surely the current method of burning fossil fuels and venting to the atmosphere the waste products is just as bad if not worse than Nuclear? The nuclear industry had been at the mercy of the environmental nutters for years, and has regulated itself very well. How many major accidents has this country had. Even 'very green' Sweden has said it is not possible even with their massive Hydro investment to run on all green energy and will use 50% nuclear power alongside renewable.

    Rate   6
    Report
  • Bonkim2003  |  November 06 2012, 3:30PM

    2dooks - operation will require very few in relation to the numbers during construction. But there is some truth in assuming that apart from civil engineering, and other construction work, much of the plant and equipment will be imported as UK manufacturing capacity today is dismal. So overall a raw deal as the bulk of the contract price/work would be exported to other countries unlike major construction in the 1960s and 70s when U.K manufacturers supplied the bulk.

    Rate   1
    Report

      YOUR COMMENTS AWAITING MODERATION

       
       

      MORE NEWS HEADLINES