U.K. government advisory commission puts the smackdown on nuclear power

Nuclear power incites stiff support in U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair. But he may be feeling a bit flaccid this week: The Sustainable Development Commission, an advisory body established by the U.K. government, has formally advised against revitalizing a national nuclear-energy program. Says the commission chair, “There’s little point in denying that nuclear power has its benefits but, in our view, these are outweighed by serious disadvantages.” In a report, the SDC cites five major concerns about nuclear — waste, cost, inflexibility, security, and efficiency — and notes that doubling nuclear capacity would only decrease carbon dioxide emissions by 8 percent below 1990 levels by 2035. Instead, the SDC recommends the U.K. pursue renewables, which could potentially supply more than two-thirds of the country’s electricity, and increase energy efficiency, which could cut carbon emissions by 20 million tons a year. No word on whether Blair plans to abandon Bush’s Axis of Atom.