What I couldn\’t understand was that he couldn\’t accept that it was also cleaner than coal or gas. For one thing it has no carbon footprint and therefore, if you think that carbon emissions are causing climate change, surely you would think nuclear power is a good thing?
That\’s Iain Dale (rightly) slagging off a greenie for refusing to think about nuclear power. However, we do need to be a little careful here. Nuclear does not have no CO2 or carbon footprint. The process of building a nuclear station, or mining and refining the ore, does indeed have emissions.
As, indeed, the process of making a windmill (they actually use more cement, power for power, than nuclear), building a damn or manufacturing solar panels all have such emissions. Camilla Cavendish gives the appropriate numbers for nuclear in today\’s Times:
Britain\’s clapped-out reactors are still our largest source of low-carbon energy. The electricity they produce creates about 15 tonnes of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour (after accounting for the carbon costs of reactors), compared with about 350 from gas and 900 from coal.
That number is fractionally above offshore wind (from memory, 13 or 14 tonnes) and hydro (again, 13 or 14 tonnes from memory) and a fraction of solar PV (36 tonnes, again, from memory).
The point to remember about all of these technologies is that none of them (as with the process of life itself) have no emissions. Everything is relative.