Letter: Nuclear rethink

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The Independent Culture
Letter:

Nuclear rethink

Sir: Your report "UN report warns of Earth's unsustainable future" and editorial "A chilling assessment of global warming" (16 September) highlight the many dangers of climate change. As you rightly state, rising seas will cause severe flooding, more diseases and crop failures, and more large-scale "natural disasters".

Cruelly, many of these will be inflicted on those peoples of the world least able to cope.

It is interesting to note that Britain is one of the few countries on course to meet its Kyoto obligations, not least because 30 per cent of UK electricity comes from nuclear energy - an energy source that emits virtually no greenhouse gases.

However, the longer term is less clear, as most of Britain's nuclear power stations are likely to have closed in the next 20 years, creating a huge CO2 gap.

Fulfilling the continuing need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions substantially is very doubtful unless a significant contribution from nuclear energy is maintained.

Your leader questions whether there is enough "political will" to meet the challenge of climate change.

Politicians indeed face a difficult dilemma in squaring the need to curb CO2 emissions with growing energy demand and the need to sustain economies.

But politicians are not the only ones with responsibility here.

Mounting an effective response to the threat of global climate change may require people in positions of influence to rethink certain deep-seated prejudices against nuclear energy.

KEITH PARKER

British Nuclear Industry Forum

London SW1

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