Ireland must accept value of nuclear energy to meet climate change obligations.
Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher has said that Ireland needs to get real and stop being hypocritical, about the use of nuclear energy in meeting our climate change requirements.
Kelleher was commenting after the European Parliament adopted a report on the enhanced use of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) in meeting the EU’s electricity and climate challenge needs.
“Nuclear energy is, I believe, essential in terms of meeting our targets of being fossil free by 2050 and limiting the planet’s temperature increase to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“While much of the heavy lifting will be done by renewables, such as wind, nuclear is part of the solution.
“We need to base our decisions on facts. At present, 50% of all carbon-free electricity in the EU is generated by nuclear. 13 Member States already make use of it, with others, such as Denmark, now re-considering their opposition to it.
“Let’s be frank: without nuclear-generated electricity over the past 50 years, the planet would be in a far worse position in terms of climate change. Imagine how much more coal, oil and gas would need to have been burned to keep the lights on, or keep our industries operating.
“Ireland must get real about the use of nuclear. The modern SMRs are nothing like the Sellafield plants in the UK. Our debates have been poisoned by ideological debates in the 1970s – over 50 years have now passed – it’s time for a rational conversation based on science.
“In the first instance, the Irish Government should repeal Section 18 of the 1999 Electricity Regulation Act. It is foolhardy to believe that nuclear won’t be needed in Ireland, and it is hypocritical to continue to import nuclear-generated electricity from the UK, and to build interconnectors to France to import it from there too,” concluded Kelleher.