Yes please? No thanks? For and against nuclear power

Today, Tony Blair signals the first step to a new generation of nuclear power stations. What are the pros and cons?

Five reasons for nuclear power

1 Generating electricity by nuclear reactors does not produce carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas causing global warming and climate change. Britain's existing nuclear power plants reduce the nation's carbon emissions by between 7 and 14 per cent.

2 Building new nuclear power stations will ensure the nation retains control over its own sources of energy. Security of supply is essential in an unstable world where oil and gas comes mainly from regions that could hold Britain to ransom by threatening to disrupt supplies.

3 Nuclear power is a mature technology and has proven reliability. It has been developed over 50 years and the latest reactors are reliable, clean and efficient. The last 10 nuclear reactors to be built in the world have been delivered on time and to their budget.

4 Generating electricity by nuclear power is a 24/7 operation and is not subject to the vagaries of wind, sun or tides. It can be fine-tuned to meet peak demand and will not let us down in the depths of winter.

5 As a founder member of the nuclear club, Britain has the expertise to operate the new nuclear-fission reactors. By building new fission reactors Britain will be well placed to develop cleaner fusion reactors.

Five reasons against nuclear power

1 Nuclear power produces radioactive waste that remains dangerous for tens of thousands of years. The Government still does not know what to do with the waste that has accumulated from more than 50 years of nuclear power. Costs of disposal are estimated at about £56bn.

2 The technology of generating electricity from nuclear fission can also be used to produce nuclear weapons. Civil nuclear power has been used for a covert nuclear weapons programme by several regimes. Zimbabwe is the latest country suspected.

3 Nuclear power stations are a target for terrorist attack. Terrorists are already believed to have targeted nuclear power plants, including one in Australia. Waste and fuel shipments are also at risk of being hijacked and used to manufacture a "dirty" bomb.

4 The legacy of Chernobyl proves nuclear power is not without enormous risk. Although the risk may be small, the consequences of a catastrophic accident are immense.

5 Nuclear power is not carbon free. Fossil fuels are needed to run the nuclear cycle, from mining the uranium ore and shipping it to Britain, to disposing of the huge volumes of radioactive waste.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own