Nuclear and Wind are Officially Stated to be Incompatible

This statement , from E.ON and EDF was in the financial pages of the Guardian on 16th March 2009. Fred Starr and Dave Andrews put in a briefing note to this effect in the Inst of Civil Engineers Journal ” Energy” last year. But  we also pointed out that nuclear cannot exist without back up from fossil, and because most of the fosil plant whould have to be shut down at night, it could not be of the carbon capture type. 

The Guardian article stated…….    

‘EDF and E.ON have warned the government they may be
forced to drop plans to build a new generation of
nuclear power plants unless the government scales back
its targets for wind power.

The demands – contained in submissions to the
government’s renewable energy consultation –
reinforces the worries of wind developers that the two
sectors cannot thrive simultaneously.

EDF of France and E.ON of Germany, two of the most
high-profile nuclear supporters, said attempts to
reach 35% of electricity generated by renewables is
not only unrealistic but also damaging to alternative
schemes such as nuclear plants.

“The deployment of high levels of intermittent
renewables for electricity generation will require the
construction of additional carbon-emitting plant as
back-up for when renewables are not available to meet
demand,” EDF argued. “This is likely to be
predominantly gas-fired and will therefore undermine
efforts to reduce dependence on non-domestic fuel

“A 25% electricity target will provide the best
platform for further decarbonisation of electricity
in the period beyond 2020, through a
combination of further renewables, new nuclear and
coal and gas with carbon capture and storage.”

The attempt to dilute the contribution from renewables
has infuriated the environmental lobby. “We’ve always
said that nuclear power will undermine renewable
and will damage the UK’s efforts to tackle
climate change – now EDF agrees,” said Nathan Argent,
head of Greenpeace‘s energy solutions unit.

“The National Grid shows that there is capacity to
take well over 30% percent of our electricity from
renewables. EDF are trying to block efforts to deliver
on the most important technology to the UK to tackle
climate change and keeps the light on in order to
protect their own vested nuclear interests.”

Friends of the Earth agreed. “The UK is the windiest
country in Europe with the best wave and tidal
resources,” said Andy Atkins, the group’s executive
director. “We should be maximising renewables and
harnessing as much of that clean, safe energy as we
possibly can – not propping up the French nuclear

Nuclear power is no green alternative – it leaves a
legacy of deadly radioactive waste that remains
dangerous for tens of thousands of years. And nuclear
power plants
simply cannot be built in time to deliver
the cuts in carbon dioxide emissions that science says
are needed.”

E.ON said it was wrong to interpret the submission as
an attempt to dismiss wind power completely.

A spokesman said the company had already built a raft
of wind farms in Britain and had plans for more. “We
believe in a mix of power sources, including nuclear
and renewables, but we know that during the cold spell
in January that some of wind farms were operating at
less than 10% of capacity.”

2 comments on “Nuclear and Wind are Officially Stated to be Incompatible

  1. “..we also pointed out that nuclear cannot exist without back up from fossil…”

    ummm.. don’t you mean “renewables cannot exists without back up”?

    Because France has nearly 80% of its electricity generated from nuclear with hardly any back up from fossil plants..

  2. Dear Berkut,

    would you make a similarly ill-informed comment about say brain surgery?

    you clearly know nothing about energy and havent bothered to read much on this website.

    France’s nuclear works because it has considerable fossil to deal with peaks, and 5 GW of diesel to deal with outages.

    It also has massive amounts of hydro to cope with diurnal variations in demand, and uses massive interconnection to export power at night and periods of low demand.

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