UK energy strategy’s nuclear dangers and glaring omissions | Letters

Josie Bassinette on Sizewell C, Morag Carmichael on generational thinking, Bob Cannell on mini-nukes, Linda Rogers on Wylfa, Jon Reeds on tidal power, Malcolm Scott on anaerobic digestion and Ian Jones on energy from waste

Your article (PM to put nuclear power at heart of UK’s energy strategy, 6 April) refers to Sizewell C as one of the major projects that has “already been through some form of planning”. The planning process is still going on, and thousands of interested parties have objected. Six months of Planning Inspectorate meetings exposed the mistakes of trying to build two gigantic reactors in the middle of an area of outstanding natural beauty and site of special scientific interest, pushed against the Minsmere nature reserve, on an eroding coastline, and with no available water for construction or operation, among other problems.

This hasn’t stopped Kwasi Kwarteng promising millions in taxpayer funding for Sizewell C when the planning process has not been completed and while he refuses to meet the community to hear alternative views.
Josie Bassinette
Walberswick, Suffolk

• In your major article on the government’s new energy strategy there is no mention of a major reason for opposing more nuclear power: there is still no method of disposing of highly toxic nuclear waste safely. This is hugely irresponsible with regard to future generations, unlike some indigenous Americans like the Iroquois, who have a principle that every plan of action must be considered with regard to its effect on the next seven generations.
Morag Carmichael

• In light of Boris’s new enthusiasm for lots of Rolls-Royce’s so-called “mini-nukes” to generate electricity, it should be better known that the Ministry of Defence has not scrapped any of its 21 similarly Rolls-Royce-powered old nuclear submarines, berthed for up to 40 years. It has made a start dismantling the hull of one, but there are still no plans for dealing with the reactors beyond burying them. Indeed, no country in the world has properly made safe a worn out mini-nuke-powered ship or submarine.
Bob Cannell

• I would argue that we do not need new nuclear power at all. It is costly, dangerous, slow and unsuitable as an adjunct to renewables. We certainly don’t need it in Wales. In 2021, planning inspectors advised that the Wylfa Newydd development (What might the UK energy strategy contain and how feasible are options?, 6 April) should be rejected due to its impact on the local economy, housing stock, local ecology, nature conservation and the Welsh language. Yet still politicians say it’s the best place for a new nuclear power station. No wonder Boris Johnson wants to cut the “red tape” of the planning process. He cannot be allowed to.
Linda Rogers
Llangoed, Anglesey

• If the government is considering investment in long-term non-fossil energy projects like nuclear, why does its strategy make no mention of tidal power? Proven technology at a variety of suitable sites around the UK could provide baseload renewable electricity. True, the old Severn Barrage scheme raised fears for wildlife, but better design and the realisation that climate change will do far worse damage to wildlife should still such fears.
Jon Reeds
Alston, Cumbria

• A quick win for additional energy supplies should be expansion of anaerobic digestion plants running on waste organic materials. This is a known and improving technology that can be scaled up and built quickly on farms. Organic waste materials can be sourced from farms, food factories, kerbside collections, verge and hedge cutting, etc. This process would be a better use of forestry waste than inefficient burning for electricity as it produces gas for the grid, from where it would be used much more efficiently, and fertiliser that is currently made from fossil fuel gas. CO2 can also be captured to replace that currently made from fossil fuel gas.
Malcolm Scott

• There are several glaring omissions from the energy strategy, including our ability to produce energy from waste (EfW) and our ability to sell UK EfW products to UK customers. As a nation, we are embarrassingly behind Europe on this matter, and to our shame we are sending waste either to landfill or to other countries to produce energy from. This, coupled with a ridiculous red tape system in the UK means that we (and companies like ours) are also more likely to sell our EfW pellets to Europe while UK power plants import pellets made from wood from other countries.
Ian Jones
CEO, Waste Knot Energy

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