Letter: Nuclear power's economic future

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The Independent Online
Sir: Tom Wilkie asserts that privatisation of the nuclear industry will achieve 'what the massed ranks of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth have failed to accomplish: the end of nuclear power in Britain'.

This claim significantly fails to appreciate how Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace have run our 20-year campaigns against the nuclear industry. Both organisations have consistently argued that nuclear power is uneconomic as well as unsafe, unnecessary and a considerable threat to the environment. In the run-up to the Government's failed attempt at privatisation in 1989, both organisations jointly targeted the City to ensure that nuclear power's hidden costs, particularly its huge waste management and decommissioning liabilities, were fully revealed.

This campaign was successful. City institutions and investors made it clear that nuclear power was a mug's game which only taxpayers who have no choice would support - not prudent fund managers. The Government was forced to recognise that the industry's liabilities were substantial. As a result, privatisation was abandoned and the Government announced a moratorium on the construction of new nuclear power stations. As Mr Wilkie points out, even the nuclear industry now acknowledges that nuclear power cannot stand on its own feet.

Yours faithfully,

CHARLES SECRETT

Executive Director

Friends of the Earth

PETER MELCHETT

Executive Director

Greenpeace

London, N1

4 July

(Photograph omitted)

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