Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Is there a disinformation campaign to paint nuclear as 'green'?

Green groups in the UK are now being subjected to a withering assault on their anti-nuclear position, which is amounting at worst to a campaign of disinformation or at best wishful thinking by the pro-nuclear establishment.

Today's BBC4 report that Friends of the Earth has become pro-nuclear has been quickly denounced by FOE themsleves. See https://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/radio-4-report-nuclear-power_10092014

But this reflects a growing recent trend to target green groups to get them at least to be neutral on the subject of investments or new research into nuclear power if not outrightly pro-nuclear.

The Green Party of England and Wales was the target of a well prepared effort to shift their position last Saturday, although of course the pro-nuclear amendment to the Party's policy was rejected by an overwhelming majority.

A worrying trend is that there is a drip, drip effort to insert support for technologies such as 'molten salt' (fast breeder) reactors, and thorium reactors as if such things were new. These technologies have been abandoned decades ago because they did not even function (if at all) as well as conventional nuclear reactors. But then people new on the scene do not know so much about the actual scientific evidence on the subject, allowing pro-nuclear advocates to pretend that such things are serious as economic and environmentally desirable'new' technologies.

The nuclear industry is now routinely described as 'green' in the British media, despite the opposition of actual green NGOs. Now there is a big campaign to get over that problem.

This establishment campaign is supported by various reports and studies which minimise (or in some cases entirely omit) the contribution of solar power, give exaggerated projections of future energy consumption and try and pretend that long-abandoned technologies such as fast breeders or thorium reactors (or small reactors come to that) are somehow 'new' and a serious force for the future.

Any apparent intellectual logic behind all this seems to have weight mainly because alternative scenarios do not get the same prominence or funding.

We in the wider green movement need to challenge this narrative. We have less resources, but we need to work harder. This is much more important than just opposing nuclear for its own sake, as important as that is. This is about stopping a massive diversion of resources away from real green solutions and towards dinosaur projects like Hinkley C.

See more coverage at http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/10/friends-of-the-earth-nuclear-power-bbc-report

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