Nuclear power is not the answer to tackling climate change or security of supply, according to the Sustainable Development Commission
In response to the Government's current Energy Review, the SDC nuclear report draws together the most comprehensive evidence base available, to find that there is no justification for bringing forward a new nuclear power programme at present
Based on eight new research papers, the SDC report gives a balanced examination of the pros and cons of nuclear power. Its research recognizes that nuclear is a low carbon technology, with an impressive safety record in the UK. Nuclear could generate large quantities of electricity, contribute to stabilising CO2 emissions and add to the diversity of the UK's energy supply.
However, the research establishes that even if the UK's existing nuclear capacity was doubled, it would only give an 8% cut on CO2 emissions by 2035 (and nothing before 2010). This must be set against the risks.
The report identifies five major disadvantages to nuclear power:
On balance, the SDC finds that these problems outweigh the advantages of nuclear. However, the SDC does not rule out further research into new nuclear technologies and pursuing answers to the waste problem, as future technological developments may justify a re-examination of the issue.