Independent, 8 June 2015:
Making nuclear reactors aesthetically attractive should not really be Amber Rudd’s priority (Minister calls for new age of “beautiful” nuclear power June 6).
There are approximately 450 civil nuclear reactors in operation world-wide with roughly 20,000 years of operating experience. During that time we have experienced 4 major accidents : Windscale 1957, Three Mile Island 1979, Chernobyl 1986 and Fukushima 2011 (assuming this is classed as one accident not three) This gives an accident rate of one per 5000 years.
To make a significant dent in global warming would require another 2000 reactors world-wide, which could mean one major accident every other year. If one of those accidents occurred In a densely populated island like the UK, then the consequences don’t bear thinking about.
By contrast the UK has 40% of Europe’s wind resource and massive potential for wave and tidal power, none of which has been properly developed. If we go down the nuclear route then green investment will shrink even more than it has already, and the UK’s stockpile of nuclear waste will increase. To date the official cost of disposal exceeds 100 billion pounds. No sane person would pursue such a risky and expensive enterprise.
Dr Robin Russell-Jones
Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire