300+ NGOs Say NO to Mickey Mouse Climate Solutions

More than 300 NGOs agreed to and delivered this statement on December 10.  The list of signatories is here.






NGOs Call for removal of the Option to “Include Nuclear Activities” in the Clean Development Mechanism(CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI)”

from Agenda Item 3a of the Accra Conclusions of the Ad-Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol: Item I-D, Option 2 in the CDM and Item II-B, Option 2 in the JI

Nuclear Power contradicts Clean Development

The nuclear industry is using the issue of climate change

and energy supply as a vehicle to win political and fi nancial

support for its dirty and dying sector. Even a massive,

four-fold expansion of nuclear power by 2050 would

provide only marginal reductions (4%) in greenhouse gas

emissions, when we need global emissions to peak at 2015

and 50 – 80% cuts by 2050.

Nuclear energy’s ‘contribution’ to fi ghting climate change

would come too late (long after 2020), with huge costs

(US$ 10 trillion) and would create a myriad of other serious

hazards related to accidents, waste and proliferation.

These large costs and negative impacts make nuclear energy

an obstacle to the necessary development of effective,

clean and affordable energy sources – both in developing

and industrialised countries.

Activities related to nuclear power must not be allowed

to become eligible for the Kyoto Protocol’s fl exible mechanisms

in order to avoid:

– Undermining climate protection by wasting time and taking

resources away from more effective and clean solutions;

– Dumping this expensive and unsafe technology on developing

countries who would be landed with the associated

economic and environmental impacts (accumulation of

massive fi nancial debts, increased dependency on foreign

fuel and technologies, increased risk from reactor accidents

and contamination); and

– Decreasing global security as volumes of nuclear waste

with no safe methods of disposal increase massively and

both nuclear materials and technologies are spread.

Expensive and dangerous nuclear power

would provide only a marginal contribution to

carbon mitigation

The OECD International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Energy Technology Perspectives

2008 Blue Map scenario [1] assesses what energy mix could achieve a 50% reduction

in carbon emission by 2050. The agency assumes a four-fold increase

of nuclear power generation, from today’s 2,600 TWh/year to 9,900 TWh/year

in 2050. But this would only reduce CO2 emissions from the energy sector by

6% (around 4 % of overall greenhouse gases).

Even getting to this 6% would require unprecedented rates of growth, sustained

over four decades. The nuclear industry would have to build an average

of 32 large (1,000 MWe) nuclear reactors every year from now until 2050.

Compare this with the last decade’s average where the nuclear industry added

3000 MW of new capacity a year. In the 1980’s, the decade of the industry’s

fastest growth, it built an average of 17,000 MW a year [2] – still only half the

rate needed to realise the IEA’s Blue Map scenario. But the IEA believes we

can build 32,000 MW capacity every year from now to 2050.

Then there’s the cost. Moody’s [3] currently estimates the investment cost for

new reactors at USD 7,500 USD/kW. Assuming this, the required 1,400 large

new reactors would cost around USD 10,500 billion – and this is only the upfront


While nuclear power presents itself as the largest carbon free energy

source, its potential role in carbon mitigation is very limited and is

simply not worth taking, given all its risks and costs.

Nuclear energy’s massive problems and risks

remain unsolved

Even today, running at one-tenth of the hypothetically required construction

speed, the nuclear industry is struggling with serious problems and has hit

many bottlenecks:

Massive technical problems and ever-rising costs have affected attempts

to build new reactor units, for example both of the French EPR units

in Finland and France – have experienced years of delays and billions in

cost overruns already. [4]

Capacity to produce reactor components is limited to only several pieces

a year and are only produced by half a dozen corporations in a handful of

countries. [5]

Shortages in uranium supplies to fuel the existing fl eet of reactors; the

annual consumption reached 69,000 tonnes of uranium in 2007, compared to

an annual production of just 41,300 tonnes in 2007.6 The world‘s proven and

reasonably assured uranium resources would only be able to cover current

consumption for a few decades and, as they deplete, carbon emissions from

the nuclear fuel chain would rise signifi cantly. [7]

A crunch for raw materials, because of the high demand for large volumes

of steel and concrete.

Negative health effects of ionising radiation. Recently published peer-reviewed

research found statistically high incidence of childhood leukaemia in

the close vicinity of nuclear power plants in Germany [8] and the US [9].

Dangerous impacts of uranium mining and milling threatens the lands,

communities and health of Indigenous Peoples, many of whom (in Canada,

the US, Africa, India and Australia, inter alia) continue to protest the extraction

of uranium on or near their homelands and territories

Lack of qualifi ed engineers, inspectors and personnel to safely manage

and oversee operations at the current scale.

Long lead-times for projects. It takes 10 to 15 years, even in countries

with developed related infrastructure, to plan, approve, site and build a new

reactor, not to mention bringing it online. It would take even longer in countries

that are just starting their nuclear programmes.

No safe disposal method for radioactive wastes that reactors have already

produced, despite decades of research and money spent. In the past

fi ve years, the estimated costs of radioactive waste disposal grew by USD 40

billion in United States [10] and by GBP 27 billion in the United Kingdom [11]

with no guarantees that safe storage, at the end of the day, is really possible.

Growing proliferation problems: As stockpiles of separated plutonium

increase, nuclear technologies and materials spread to new countries. International

safeguards are under-resourced and structurally weak. It is only a

question of time before they become accessible to terrorist groups. One large

reactor can produce 200 kgs of plutonium every year – enough for two dozen

nuclear weapons.

All these factors raise additional scepticism about the actual potential

of nuclear power to really mitigate greenhouse gases on any useful

scale and within a reasonable timeframe.

Nuclear power steals “time and money” that

would be better invested in energy effi ciency

and renewable technologies

Expensive, dirty and hazardous nuclear power stands in the way of clean and

sustainable solutions. It could take USD10 trillion or more to build enough

reactors to produce 9,900 TWh of “nuclear electricity” as projected under the

International Energy Agency (IEA) 2008 “Blue Map” scenario. Building enough

wind farms to produce the same amount of electricity, for example, would

cost USD 6 trillion at current prices, for a savings of USD 4 trillion. And, these

costs would decrease over time.

Wind power has no associated fuel costs and does not require expensive dismantling

of its power plant at the end of its life and long term disposal of radioactive

waste as is required in the decommissioning of a nuclear power plant.

Other calculations show that, compared to nuclear, wind power at today’s costs

replaces twice as much carbon per invested dollar and energy effi ciency measures

three to six times more. [12]

Even the IEA’s 2008 Blue Map scenario itself shows that, while massive nuclear

expansion reduces carbon emissions from the energy sector by 6%, the potential

of renewable energy sources is around four times greater, and the potential

of energy effi ciency six times greater. It is clear by these numbers which technology

deserves the priority for investment:

Lastly is the issue of time. Energy effi ciency measures can be implemented in

months. A wind farm can be planned and built in one year. Nuclear reactors

take one to two decades to plan and build.

Every dollar invested in nuclear power means a dollar less invested in

energy effi ciency and renewable energy sources — sources that can

not only replace several times more carbon for the same cost, but also

achieve the desired carbon reduction more rapidly.

Renewable energy sources can easily provide power to remote areas

with underdeveloped infrastructure and can be implemented quickly

while supporting local job development. In contrast, large nuclear

power plants are often not compatible with established grids and infrastructure

in developing countries. Various institutions have recently

warned developing countries against unrealistic expectations from

nuclear energy plans.

You should go for it [renewable energy]. It is cheaper than investing in

nuclear development.”

Ferran Tarradellas Espuny, spokesman for the EU Energy Commissioner, speaking

about renewable energy projects in South East Asia.

Nuclear energy is not the panacea for tackling global warming. Even if

you set aside the problem of long-term waste storage and the danger of

operator accident and the vulnerability to terrorist attack, you still have

two others that are more diffi cult. The fi rst problem is one of economics…..

The second is nuclear weapons proliferation. For eight years when I was in

the White House, every problem of weapons proliferation was connected to

a reactor program.”

Al Gore, Former Vice President of the United States, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, 2007


1 International Energy Agency, Energy Technology Perspectives 2008 (Paris: IEA, 2008)

2 International Atomic Energy Agency’s PRIS database, http://www.iaea.org/programmes/a2/index.


3 New Nuclear Generating Capacity – Potential Credit Implications for U.S. Investor Owned Utilities,

Moody’s Corporate Finance, May 2008

4 Nucleonics Week, Platts, 4 September 2008; Detailed briefi ngs and references at http://www.greenpeace.


5 Platts Nucleonics Week publications; Nuclear Engineering International; http://www.areva.com .

6 See World Nuclear Association, online: http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf23.html .

7 Benjamin Sovacool, “Valuing the greenhouse gas emissions from nuclear power” (2008) 36 Energy

Policy 2940.

8 Spix C et al, Case-control study on childhood cancer in the vicinity of nuclear power plants in Germany

1980- 2003, European Journal of Cancer (December 2007)

9 Joseph Mangano, Janette D. Sherman: Childhood Leukaemia Near Nuclear Installations, European

Journal of Cancer Care No 4 Vol 17, July 2008

10 Platts, Nuclear Fuel, 11 August 2008.

11 Guardian, online: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/jul/18/nuclearpower.energy .

12 Amory Lovins, The Nuclear Illusion, May 2008.

To endorse our call, or for more information, contact by email or, where indicated,

by mobile, in Poznan:

– Nicole Van Gemert and Sabine Bock, Women in Europe for a Common Future

(WECF), Nicole Van Gemert at +31 – 6- 229 – 500 -27 (mobile in Poznan)

and sabine.bock@wecf.eu, +49 176 228 274 65

– Claire Greensfelder, International Forum on Globalization (IFG),

cgreensfelder@ifg.org, +1-510-917-5468 (mobile in Poznan)

– Thomas Breuer, Greenpeace, Thomas.Breuer@de.greenpeace.org,

+49 – 171 878 0820 (mobile in Poznan)

– Peer de Rijk and Daniel Meijer, World Information Service on Energy (WISE),

wiseamster@antenna.nl, Daniel Meijer +31 6 2525 4065 (mobile in Poznan)

– Vladimir Slivyak, Ecodefence, ecodefense@gmail.com, +7 903 299 7584

(mobile in Poznan)

– Michael Mariotte, Nuclear Information and Resource Service,


Please sign on by sending an email to wiseamster@antenna.nl,

with your name, city and country.

Conclusion: Too little, too late, too expensive,

and just too dangerous.

Nuclear power is not a suitable answer

to climate change and should be removed as

an investment option for the Clean Development

Mechanism and Joint Implementation





NGOs Call for removal of the Option to “Include Nuclear Activities” in

the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation


from Agenda Item 3a of the Accra Conclusions of the Ad-Hoc Working Group on

Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol: Item I-D,

Option 2 in the CDM and Item II-B, Option 2 in the JI

2 thoughts on “300+ NGOs Say NO to Mickey Mouse Climate Solutions

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