It seems strange to have to explain why nuclear power isn't green, but it is all over the British press from the Government that it is, and that electricity consumers will be supporting 'green energy' with increased bills. Consumers may think that most or all of this is going to renewable energy. But, under the Government's 'electricity market reform' proposals a lot will be diverted to support nuclear power - both old and new, through two ways. One is because fossil fuel prices are being increased to make non-fossil sources relatively cheaper, and another is through a new scheme called the 'low carbon mechanism'. This will be organised by government in what will be no doubt a rather opaque fashion to funnel an additional precept from consumer electricity bills to fund new nuclear. What is left will go to renewable energy through an 'auction' system that has long been discredited (see earlier blog). In doing so, of course, it does not take a great deal of imagination to see that the renewable energy programme will not be anything like as big as if all the money was going to start new renewable energy schemes rather than support nuclear power. Quota auctions are being introduced to limit the amount of offshore and onshore windfarms that can get access to cross subsidies for consumers so that the rest can be reserved for the new nuclear power stations that companies like EDF and E.On want to build.
According to the Government this is going to be a balanced way of distributing money to green energy sources. Nuclear Power - green? How is it going to solve the global environmental crisis? Evidently by creating another one - a nuclear proliferation crisis. If a lot of countries start using nuclear power to reduce carbon emissions there will quite quickly be a uranium crisis (oil crises with radioactivity) which according to the nuclear industry will be stopped by building 'fast breeder' reactors. Whilst ordinary nuclear power stations (just?) use fissile materials, fast breeder reactors (which have never been made to work properly) actually generate fissile materials. They are nuclear bomb factories. This was why the green movement turned against nuclear power 30 years ago. Let's stop this happening by demanding that all consumer subsidies for green energy go to renewable energy or energy efficiency with a system of German style feed-in tariffs used to support renewable energy.