Toxic Time Capsule: why nuclear energy is an intergenerational issue

Document type
Simms, Andrew
Intergenerational Foundation
Date of publication
5 April 2016
Social Policy
Social welfare
Material type

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This report reveals the intergenerational costs and benefits of different choices for energy technology and generating capacity in the UK. 

It argues that doubts growing over the viability of building new nuclear power stations create an important and timely opportunity to rethink the UK’s energy strategy and get a better deal for the nation.

Key findings:

  • Following the urgency and agreed targets for tackling climate change given by the 2015 Paris conference, nuclear power cannot tackle global warming and will, if anything, undermine efforts and better, effective solutions.
  • Nuclear power passes on high and rising economic costs to future generations which will grow with any expansion of the sector, alongside a rising burden of long-term waste for which no satisfactory management regime exists.
  • Cheaper, safer, quicker energy options exist, representing better economic value, more effective responses to climate change, greater all round security and more convivial, responsive energy systems to pass to future generations.

This report concludes that intergenerational concerns should be designed into the process for making energy choices, and suggests guiding principles and minimum criteria to achieve those ends.