Nuclear 'essential to any global solution'

16 July 2009

The case for using nuclear energy forms the foundation of the UK's Road to 2010 strategy. The opening paragraphs list nuclear's benefits in low-carbon generation and security of supply before adding sustainability and a role in tackling poverty.


Every country has a right to use nuclear energy peacefully, the UK noted, and the country will facilitate them by setting up a Nuclear Centre of Excellence. The research centre will "be at the forefront of international efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation and reduce the costs, environmental impact and carbon footprint of civil nuclear power." It will be funded with £20 million ($32 million) from state funds over five years, the government said, and is proof of Britain's seriousness about its obligation under the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty to assist other states in employing civil nuclear energy.


The case for nuclear

The opening paragraphs in Britain's Road to 2010 strategy set the scene:

"Nuclear power is a proven technology which generates low carbon electricity. It is affordable, dependable, safe, and capable of increasing diversity of energy supply.

It is therefore an essential part of any global solution to the related and serious challenges of climate change and energy security...

Nuclear energy is therefore vital to the challenges of sustaining global growth, and tackling poverty."

However, the widespread use of nuclear energy must not see any increase in nuclear armed states. "Iran is a test case," warned a statement. "We make the same offer to Iran as to other countries - we will help you gain access to nuclear power for peaceful purposes, but we will do everything we can to prevent weapons proliferation." 

In line with this sentiment and a call for universal compliance with safeguards agreements, the International Atomic Energy Agency should be rejuvenated the UK said, adding that it would push for significantly increased funds. A multilateral fuel cycle could also give the IAEA a greater role and remove potential proliferation points such as uranium enrichment and used fuel reprocessing. The UK will submit its proposal for an multilaterally supervised fuel regime to the IAEA board in September.