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UK

New nuclear power said too risky

Cows graze in a pasture near a nuclear power plant at Sellafield, Cumbria, September 9, 1997. Building more nuclear power plants is too slow, costly and risky to help the fight against climate change and energy security, a UK environmental think-tank the New Economics Foundation said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Dan Chung

LONDON (Reuters) - Building more nuclear power plants is too slow, costly and risky to help the fight against climate change and energy security, a UK environmental think-tank the New Economics Foundation said on Wednesday.

Some countries, including Britain, are considering building a new generation of nuclear power stations to cut carbon emissions from power generation and reduce dependency on imported fossil fuels.

But, according to a report published by the foundation on Wednesday, the costs involved in building new reactors is up to three times higher than supporters of such plants say.

“Nuclear power has been promoted as a solution to climate change and an answer to energy security. It is neither,” the report concludes. “As a response to global warming it is too slow, too expensive and too limited.”

Rather than wasting time and money on atomic energy, Britain and other countries concerned about rising carbon emissions should spend more on renewable energy sources that can deliver the carbon cuts more quickly, safely and economically, it said.

The think tank rejects the government’s cost estimate of 2.2-5.0 pence per kilowatt hour of power produced by new nuclear power plants, instead putting the cost at 3.2-7.5 p/kWh.

A report by Poyry Energy Consulting on Monday said the commercial case for building new nuclear power plants in Britain was shaky and that none would be built without a high and long-term cost attached to emitting carbon dioxide.

The report’s author, Poyry director Andrew Nind, said the foundation’s cost estimate was too high. “The bottom half of the range in broadly reasonable,” he said.

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