The true cost of nuclear

Maybe Mr Pagram (“Let’s slay this Array of laughable claims”, Opinion, March 13) would like to take a look at the website for Regen SW – www.regensw.co.uk – which gives various facts and figures regarding the fast-growing renewable energy industry in the South West.

Ilfracombe could provide the ideal port for serving the Atlantic Array, provided the council makes the necessary investment.

It would be greatly to RWE’s advantage to have servicing from Ilfracombe, as it it much closer to the array than any of the ports on the South Wales coast.

The North Devon fishing industry has already been badly damaged by industrial fishing off the North Devon coast, as around other UK coastal waters.

The 200 jobs he mentions are at far greater risk from industrial fishing than any wind turbine installation, which in many respects may improve prospects for fishermen as the foundations will provide havens for much marine life, including shellfish.


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The effect on tourism is open to question. Whitstable include off-shore turbines in their tourist website as an attraction and run boat trips to visit them.

The visitor centre at Whitelee, near Glasgow draws 250,000 visitors a year. A survey by Visit Scotland arrived at the figure of 15 per cent claiming that they would definitely avoid wind farms in their holiday location and 10 per cent would be less likely to return to Scotland as a holiday venue if the number of turbines increased. That, however, leaves 75 per cent who did not express an adverse reaction.

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It is beyond our understanding that Mr Pagram should talk of the potentially catastrophic environmental harm done by the installation and use of wind turbines, and we’d like to remind him that soaring costs would be even higher were we forced to rely on nuclear energy, given the cost of subsidies to the industry, clean-up costs and the fact that sufficient nuclear could not be ready to replace fossil fuel energy in time to ‘stop the lights going out’.

The National Audit Office stated that in the 2011-2012 financial year alone £1.6billion was spent on running and cleaning up Sellafield, with £411m going on major projects.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which is responsible for cleaning up Sellafield, ‘cannot say with certainty how long it will take to deal with hazardous radioactive waste at Sellafield or how much it will cost’.

A revised plan for the clean-up contributed to an increase in the authority’s provision for decommissioning the site to £67billion (undercounted) by 2120. This figure is, as of March 2012, up from £47billion from March 2009. A £20billion rise in three years.

As for Joanne Bell’s snide remarks about Green Party funding – apart from reassuring her that GP members themselves put their money where their mouths are when it comes to supporting a good cause, maybe we should be asking where UKIP – which seems to be made up of many climate change deniers bent on following the ‘do nothing and keep on burning fossil fuels and promoting nuclear’ line, gets its funding?

Rosemary Haworth-Booth

Press Officer

North Devon Green Party

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