Why does nuclear energy have such a bad press?

The public perception of nuclear power in the UK is quite different to the positive image it has in Canada, America and France.

There are lots of reasons for this. A lack of scientific knowledge in Government doesn't help.

There seems to be no lack of highly-paid advisers.

Recently the leader of the Opposition, David Cameron, said that nuclear power would only be used as a "last resort" under the next Tory administration. This is not the sort of comment expected from a senior politician.

Inflammatory language about energy policy causes much irritation amongst those who earn their living in the energy industry and does not help our long-term energy plans.

Aside from this, serious damage to nuclear power's UK image has been caused by a stream of bad publicity associated with Sellafield, (formerly known as Windscale) where nuclear fuel is reprocessed.

This is ironic since, if we want cheap nuclear electricity, reprocessing isn't necessary anyway. A civil nuclear electricity program does not need a reprocessing facitity.

Here's part of a recent article (9 Jun 06) from a national paper:


British Nuclear Group faces an unlimited fine after pleading guilty to safety breaches which allowed radioactive material to leak from the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant for 8 months.

A broken pipe was discovered....in April last year. By then, acid containing 20 tons of uranium and 350lb of plutonium had escaped without staff noticing.

Yesterday BNG pleaded guilty at Whitehaven magistrates' court to three counts of breaching the conditions of its licence....

The case is being referred to Carlisle Crown Court.

A spokesman for BNG said that the leak had presented no risk either to health and safety or to the environment.

Comment from ND......

how much damage has this article, and others like it, done to the nuclear industry?


Back to top

Energy Policy
Fuel to Electricity
Nuclear Power
Wind Turbines