Interested in learning more about the future of nuclear in Europe? Read Friends of Europe‘s fact sheet.
AGAINST Nuclear Power
1. IT’S UNSAFE
The 2011 Fukushima disaster showed the world that nuclear power is clearly fundamentally unsafe. The meltdown at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant was the worst since Chernobyl in Ukraine, 25 years earlier.
Renewables are ready to take over from nuclear. In fact, we could be producing 100% of our energy from renewables by 2050, and the technology is already ready for market – particularly if the subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear are cut. Furthermore, if we don’t start using renewable now then we may never make the switch, so this is the chance to take that first step.
Public investment in nuclear energy far out-strips investment in renewables. Nuclear plants are also expensive to set up and decommission, and the costs of storing radioactive waste (effectively indefinitely) also have to be considered. If the money pumped into nuclear had been spent on renewables, then the pay-off would have been much greater per-euro invested.
4. NUCLEAR-FREE WORLD
Even now, Iran is developing a civilian nuclear programme that analysts warn could be used for a covert nuclear weapons capability. Iran says it needs nuclear power to guarantee its energy security, and Europe’s diplomatic efforts to convince it otherwise would be much easier if it could be demonstrated that civilian nuclear energy was unnecessary. If Europe really wants a nuclear-free world, then it has to commit to abandoning nuclear technology completely.
FOR Nuclear Power
1. IT’S SAFE
The technology IS safe, and it’s getting safer. Fukushima was an old plant, and the latest generation of nuclear reactor designs are much less likely to meltdown. In adddition, earthquakes and tsunamis of the sort that caused the Fukushima disaster are much less common in Europe.
2. CLIMATE CHANGE
We need to use all of the energy sources we have, because renewables aren’t yet able to take over from nuclear power. The alternatives to nuclear are coal and natural gas – including unconventional gas resources – and these would be (over the long-run) much more polluting and damaging than nuclear.
Nuclear fusion would, potentially, solve all of our energy needs. It’s a valuable area of research that could guarantee abundant clean energy, so it’s worth investing in the technology, continuing to use it and not abandoning it.
IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – TruthOut
See what the different political parties think
S&D Jo Leinen: Nuclear Safety is a common EU concernS&D A sustainable common energy policy for europeS&DPES Network launches debate about a European-wide phase out of nuclear energy
ALDE Solar power: Meeting Europe’s energy needsALDE EU nuclear stress tests must be more than a PR exerciseALDE ALDE continues to push nuclear safety agenda