Questions and Answers about Nuclear Power


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This website has been set up to provide information about the issues around nuclear power, renewable energy and energy in general. The energy debate has seen a great deal of false and incorrect information. This website provides definitive, referenced facts to help inform the debate.

This website is always developing and your contributions will be welcome. Please ask questions or supply information or let us know of good sources of information you have found.

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Frequently asked questions

Isn't nuclear electricity carbon-free? Click here

France's electricity is 80% nuclear - shouldn't ours be? Click here

How does the nuclear industry seek to influence Government? Click here

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Introduction to the nuclear debate

The UK government’s Energy Review favoured a new phase of nuclear power station construction. The multinational companies behind the nuclear industry, along with unions based at Sellafield, have lobbied hard and have convinced Tony Blair to support nuclear power.

The argument against nuclear power was won in the 1980s, with a mass of environmental and economic evidence leading to the halting of power station construction. Why is this dinosaur being resurrected? The answer is simple - political expediency. Vast sums of our taxes will go to support an industry which is uneconomic, is not CO2-free, as claimed, and diverts investment from renewables.

Renewables are not just windfarms
Nuclear power is more expensive than onshore or offshore wind, fuelwood or energy crops. Wave power and tidal power could provide around 25 per cent and 6.5 per cent respectively of UK electricity demand [1, 1a]. Offshore wind off East Anglia alone could supply a quarter of UK electricity needs.

Passive solar heating, ground-source heat pumps, micro-hydro, biomass and a range of other new renewable technologies, have recently become practical realities. And most important is energy efficiency – the less electricity we use the less we need to generate.

Nuclear power will not help tackle climate change
All forms of energy generation create some CO2 because we use fossil fuels to build and service them. Construction, fuel, infrastructure, operation, waste treatment and decommissioning produce around 250,000 tonnes of CO2 a year for a medium-sized nuclear power station [2]. By comparison, hydro, wind and tidal produce just one-third or less CO2 for the same amount of electricity [3].

Nuclear power is expensive
Did you know that your taxes are already paying for cleaning up existing nuclear power stations? The Government has committed us to paying more than £56 billion over the next 50 years through the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority [4].

Nowhere in the world have new nuclear power stations yet been financed within a liberalised electricity market [5]. This is because they are not economic. You the taxpayer will also need to provide vast subsidies to get the nuclear power programme going again, and then you’ll have to pay yet more to clean up the even worse mess 20 years down the line.

No insurer will touch nuclear power stations. Our government has agreed to pay out of your taxes in the event of a nuclear disaster. The Chernobyl accident has already cost Ukraine £68 billion [6].

The Government estimates that by 2020 the cost of nuclear power will be 3-4p/kWh (excluding clean-up costs), compared with onshore wind (1.5-2.5p), offshore wind (2-3p); energy crops (2.5-4p); wave and tidal (4-8p) and photovoltaic solar panels (10-16p) [5]. Most renewables are coming down in price due to new technologies and improving markets. The cost of wind energy has fallen by a factor of 4 since 1991 [7], while the costs of nuclear are increasing, in part because uranium supplies are becoming more scarce.

Nuclear power undermines renewables
The vast sums of taxpayers’ money going to subsidise nuclear will have to come from other parts of the UK’s budget. Health, education, council services will all be squeezed, but the energy budget will be squeezed most, and support for renewable energy will be the easiest target. Be ready for cuts in grants for woodfuel, wind, wave and micro-hydro schemes, and of course fewer grants for insulation if nuclear goes ahead.

What you need to do now
• Find out more - some sources of information are listed below.
• Join the mailing list at to get updates and more information.
• Write to your MSP and MP
• Change your electricity supplier (suppliers available in your area on )
• Discuss this with your friends. Encourage other people to do all the above.


1. Pelamis Wave Power website:
1a. Mirage and Oasis: Energy choices in an age of global warming. NEF available from:
2. Comparison of Greenhouse-Gas Emissions and Abatement Cost of Nuclear and Alternative Energy Options from a Life-Cycle Perspective U. R. Fritsche & Sui-San Lim Öko-Institut, 2006
3. World warms to nuclear power. N. Mortimer SCRAM Safe Energy Journal,1990. Available from
4. Nuclear Decommissioning Authority:
5. Cabinet Office Performance and Innovation Unit Energy Review 2002. Available from:
6. The fallacy that nuclear energy will prove to be our saviour. Andrew Simms. Financial Times November 4 2005
7. British Wind Energy Association:


More information [information and up to date UK nuclear news] [independent group of campaigners & scientists who oppose nuclear energy] [Irish site promoting energy efficiency & clean renewable alternatives] [Nuclear Free Local Authorities] [a short video to make you think.....]

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