The National:

THE nuclear industry has come under fire for trying to influence international talks in the run-up to the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November.

Six people from the European Nuclear Society registered to attend UN negotiations in May and June. Two were from the UK Government’s Magnox Ltd, which is decommissioning nuclear plants, and one was from the US nuclear firm, Westinghouse.

There were also 12 representatives from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN body charged with both promoting and regulating nuclear power, plus one from the Canadian Nuclear Association.

The nuclear industry was accused by environmentalists of “jumping on the bandwagon” of climate change. “The latest wheeze is to tell us that nuclear is the answer,” said Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland.

“With renewables and energy efficiency cheaper, quicker and safer than nuclear, they have already lost this argument and should have no place at COP26. The nuclear industry’s disastrous history of cost and time over-runs show very clearly that what they offer would be too little, too expensive and far too late.”

Pete Roche, policy adviser to the Scottish Nuclear Free Local Authorities, said: “When you look at nuclear power you find it is hopelessly expensive, far too slow to be of any use and hugely problematic – producing dangerous waste and with a potential risk of a serious accident.”

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But the criticisms were rejected by the European Nuclear Society, which brings together more than 12,000 professionals from nuclear companies and other bodies. “Nuclear energy is safe, reliable and available 24/7 and together with renewables creates a perfect energy mix to reach net-zero target by 2050.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports and the recent International Energy Agency reports show clearly a median projection of more than double the current primary energy supply from nuclear being required by 2050 in order to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C,” said the society’s external relations manager, Emilia Janisz.

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