Socialist Worker

Nuclear delusions sideline renewable energy

Issue No. 2571

Nuclear power stations like Torness created huge huge amounts of carbon emissions

Nuclear power stations like Torness created huge huge amounts of carbon emission


The case against renewable energy took a severe blow this week after wind power firms won the rigged race for a government subsidy.

They bid to build offshore wind farms in exchange for a guaranteed price of £57.50 a megawatt hour of electricity that they generate in the next 15 years.

That “strike price” is about half what new wind farm projects went for just two years ago.

It’s also far lower than the subsidy thrown at the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant. The government guaranteed it a strike price of £92.50 a megawatt hour plus inflation.

Onshore wind and solar were barred from the subsidy auction.

Their subsidies have been slashed. It’s not because they are expensive. In some areas wind and solar power already cost about the same as gas and less than nuclear.

Nuclear is presented as a “low carbon” alternative to spin away the opposition to a dangerous industry. It’s a lie.

That’s despite the Tories throwing money at fossil fuels and nuclear power. They help bosses bulldoze through all obstacles, from Hinkley Point to sites marked for fracking.

That course of action is suicidal for humanity as we face climate change that threatens our survival.

Severe hurricanes in the Caribbean and southern US are a reminder of this. The warming climate is thought to make severe storms more frequent.

This is one aspect of a crisis that could render much of the world almost uninhabitable by 2100.

As well as helping people in the worst-hit regions adapt or make new lives elsewhere, we desperately need to slow the warming. That means an urgent reduction in the amount of fossil fuels we burn.

Nuclear is presented as a “low carbon” alternative to spin away the opposition to a dangerous industry. It’s a lie.

Emissions

Over its lifetime a nuclear plant creates vast carbon emissions.

Governments prefer these costly, planet-wrecking technologies because they fit the needs of the capitalist system.

It relies on a model of unplanned growth in the interest of profit.

Bosses reduce the question of energy use to whether there is an opportunity to make profits.

The military is driven by a similar logic. Britain’s rulers want to show they can project their power anywhere in the world at will. They love nuclear power as the foundation for nuclear weapons.

But their needs are not our needs. Renewable energy in a democratically planned economy could provide comfort and plenty for all.

So it’s shameful that major unions Unite and GMB routinely line up behind the energy bosses.

They say they are protecting their members’ jobs. But there are no jobs on a dead planet. And workers win by fighting bosses, not defending bosses’ interests.


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