A Green Party Nuclear Power Policy fit for the 21st Century

Greens For Nuclear Energy seek to influence the Green movement’s key organisations and institutions to favour nuclear energy. We need every available low carbon power source to combat catastrophic climate change. Our first campaign is to change the Green Party’s policy (England & Wales), which is currently:

EN014: Nuclear power, coal and incineration of waste will be phased out.

We believe that the increasingly urgent need to deal decisively with our emerging climate crisis makes continued opposition to nuclear energy irrational for environmentalists and reduces our chances of averting a climate catastrophe.

We therefore oppose the early decommissioning of existing nuclear reactors, unless it can be shown that continued use of any given plant is a present threat to human life, the environment or property.

We support the research and development of new advanced nuclear power technologies and the continued use of existing nuclear power plants until each power plant reaches end-of-life.

We are also pro-renewables and where topography, geography and climate permit, we strongly advocate their deployment where a positive local environmental case is made.

We therefore respectfully urge our fellow Green Party members to approach the nuclear power debate with an open mind and not fall victim to the ‘easy way out’ of dogmatic, hard-wired anti-nuclear ideology or the simple prejudice of the availability heuristic.

Our aim is to advocate for and promote clean, safe, reliable nuclear power within the party until we reach critical mass and succeed in bringing a motion at conference to amend Green Party clause EN014, to adopt nuclear power as part of an ambitious new Green Party clean energy policy that is fit for the 21st Century.

 

How it begins…

There are a wide variety of opinions on Nuclear Energy in the Green Party.

Many members remain strongly ‘anti-nuclear’ and many are simply unsure – not equipped with enough information to feel they can make a decision that they’d be willing to stick their necks out for. An increasing number though are reconsidering their position – most particularly in the context of the sheer magnitude of our Climate Crisis. These are members who recognise the contribution that Nuclear Energy can make – alongside renewables – to rapidly reducing our carbon emissions from not only electricity generation, but across a wide range of sectors.

Some of us are firmly and unequivocally in favour. Some of us say yes – perhaps even through gritted teeth – simply because we recognise that there can be NO compromise to save the climate. Others are on the fence but becoming simply #NuclearCurious.

 

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What the scientists say…

 

James Hansen, PhD & Pushker Kharecha, PhD

As concerned climate scientists, we have published and lectured extensively on the scale and urgency of the human-caused climate crisis and the remedies needed for it. One key finding from our work is that the world will need all available non-fossil energy sources -- nuclear energy as well as renewables -- to be scaled up during the next few decades as fossil fuel emissions are...

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Francois-Marie Breon

Climate change is now on us and there is a very urgent need to take actions to stabilize the warming to an acceptable level.  The 1.5° target that was set 5 years ago during the Paris conference is probably out of reach, and the same fate is likely for the 2° target given our incapacity to take the right measures.About 20 years ago, during the Earth summit conference at Johannesburg,...

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Opinion on Nuclear Energy from members of the Green Party

 

Josh Morris-Blake

“Whilst everybody in the party would love to achieve the theoretical bliss of 100% renewables, existing technological deficiencies in storage means this is not a viable policy – for now”.

Duncan Roy – Lewes

Renewables cannot supply the base load because they are all, in this country, unpredictable and intermittent. They don’t work when the wind won’t blow and the sun don’t shine. Therefore, something else is needed. Something reliable. We need a reliable carbon-free base supply, to keep the electricity going. The only option is nuclear. Whether we like it or not. Because that’s what the evidence tells us.

Sam Easterby-Smith – Manchester

“The power stations remain strange, and terrifying. But I now see a certain beauty in them and suspect that we probably need them”.

Martin Farley

“I have long been sceptical about the use of Nuclear Power, but the Green Party’s own plans for reaching zero carbon rely on our continued use of it”.

Mark Yelland – Brighton & Hove

So let’s be straight about this – we need every clean energy tool in the box, and renewables have a major part to play, but it is clear that we are not making anywhere near sufficient headway to meet our climate targets.

Matt Stratford – Greenwich

“My support for nuclear power is based on two assessments which I believe are very well-supported by the evidence”.

Neil O’Doherty – Somerset

“Over the last couple of years, it has become increasingly apparent to me that a logical rather than ideological response to the situation is needed, and for this reason began to question some of my previously held positions on a number of large-scale infrastructure projects that, if carefully delivered, could contribute significantly to the delivery and efficient use of our future energy supply.”

Chris A Williams – Leicestershire

“Much irreversible (in the next few hundred years) damage to the ecosystem is already locked in. All the choices that we make are, alas, about ‘least bad’ options. And we need to make them as evidence-based as we can”.

Scott Mabbutt – Northampton

“A common phrase from our opponents about a number of issues is that “Facts don’t care about your feelings” and I think nuclear energy is somewhere where this adage actually applies”.

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