Nuclear power can't save the climate according to Friends of the Earth
Friends of the Earth Europe deplores International Energy Agency proposal to add nuclear nightmare to global climate crisis.
Brussels, 7 November 2006 - Friends of the Earth Europe has chastisedthe International Energy Agency (IEA) for pushing a global energy policythat would promote a nuclear revival, while still condemning the worldto catastrophic climate change. The policy was outlined in the IEA's newWorld Energy Outlook, published this morning. Friends of the EarthEurope has declared the proposed paths dangerous, a threat to the climate and economically unviable.
Frank van Schaik, nuclear energy campaigner at Friends of the EarthEurope, said:
"Nuclear power is not the solution to the problems of climate change and energy security. Nuclear power remains the most dangerous form of energy. An accident like the 1986 explosion of the reactor in Chernobyl in the Ukraine could happen every day. And the question of what to do with highly radioactive waste remains unsolved. We can secure the supply of energy ten times cheaper through investing in energy savings instead of new nuclear power. On a level playing field, nuclear power is economically insane." 
Friends of the Earth Europe has highlighted that beyond burdening future generations with a dirty legacy for centuries, new nuclear power comes at a high financial cost for society, if the real costs of nuclear power are properly taken into account. These costs include century-long waste treatment and storage, the decommissioning of old plants and the costs of potential accidents. Not a single nuclear power station has ever been built without massive government subsidies.
The European Commission has recently started investigations concerning illegal state aid for a nuclear power plant currently under construction in Finland.  Also, contrary to the claims in the World Energy Outlook 2006, uranium is a finite resource that, even if nuclear energy capacity was kept at present levels, would last only 50 years.
New nuclear plants will diminish the world's chances to avert the growing climate crisis. Money invested in energy saving measures and renewable energies can achieve far greater emission reductions than if invested in nuclear power.
Friends of the Earth welcomes the acknowledgment by the World Energy Outlook 2006 that policies and measures to increase energy efficiency will yield financial savings exceeding initial extra investment costs for energy producers and consumers. But the report does not give sufficient prominence to cutting energy waste and exploiting the full potential of increasing energy efficiency.
Jan Kowalzig, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe, said:
"We need drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the economic and environmental repercussions of catastrophic climate change. But the recommendations of the International Energy Agency's World Energy Outlook 2006 would lead to soaring emissions for decades. The report's suggestions for reducing energy waste are far too weak, and it lacks proposals for strong and effective policies to move away from dirty energy production into an era of renewable energies."
Friends of the Earth also debunked the myth that nuclear energy is an energy source free of greenhouse gas emissions. Nuclear power emits as much CO2 as a modern gas-fired co-generation plant. When assessing the overall emissions, the whole lifetime of a nuclear power station need to be part of the equation, including fossil fuels burnt during uranium mining, processing and transportation, building the nuclear power station and decommissioning as well as long-term waste storage and treatment.
For more information, please contact: Frank van Schaik, nuclear campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe: Tel: +31 206 126 368; Mobile: +31 620 295 755; Email: email@example.com
Jan Kowalzig, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe: Tel:+32 25 42 61 02; Mobile: +32 496 384 696; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rosemary Hall, Communications Officer at Friends of the Earth Europe: Tel:+32 25 42 61 05, Mobile: +32 485 930 515, Email: email@example.com
 The G8 summits in Gleaneagles and St Petersburg asked the the International Energy Agency to advise on a 'clean, clever and competitive energy future' for the world energy needs. The World Energy Outlook 2006 is seen as the response to this request. It compares a Business-As-Usual 'Reference Scenario' with an 'Alternative Policy Scenario'. The latter would still see increases in global greenhouse gas emissions by about 30% compared to 2004 levels, putting for example the EU’s objective of keeping global average temperature increases below 2°C out ofreach. In chapter 11, the WEO 2006 also sketches out a 'Beyond Alternative Policy Scenario' that however would merely cap emissions in 2030 at today's levels. See http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org
 "Nuclear power: economics and climate protection potential": Rocky Mountains Institute; January 2006; available at http://www.rmi.org
 "Nuclear Power: Myth and Reality The risks and prospects of nuclear power" by Gerd Rosenkranz, published by Heinrich Böll Foundation and WISE, Chapter 3: The Nuclear Fuel Cycle, p.22. http://www.boell.de/de/04_thema/4064.html
 "If one takes into consideration the mining of resources [uranium], the transportation, the building and maintaining of nuclear power plants, the distribution of the electricity and the necessary additional production of heat, then nuclear power does often look worse for climate protection than other forms of energy production. A modern gas-fired power station in connection with heat production [co-generation] can be more favourable for the climate. Even better for the climate are renewable energies and most of all the efficient use of energy." [own translation] - German Environmental Ministry, in: 'Atomkraft: Ein teurer Irrweg. Die Mythen der Atomwirtschaft', March 2006. See (in German) http://www.erneuerbare-energien.de/inhalt/2715/4592/
Friends of the Earth Flanders & Brussels (formerly For Mother Earth) is a member of Friends of the Earth International