Bishop of Hereford speaks up for nuclear power

The Bishop of Hereford wants to see more investment in the  development of energy through nuclear power.

Addressing the House of Lords, the Right Reverend Anthony Priddis said he hoped the target of an 85% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 would be achieved.

He proposed the development of thorium and molten salt reactors as an alternative to uranium and coal energy sources. 

"One tonne of thorium is equivalent to about 200 or more tonnes of uranium, which is equivalent to 3.2 million tonnes of coal, which would produce 8.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and 900,000 cubic feet of waste fly ash. That is a no brainer when we are starting to be green and looking to be green," he explained.

"There is no argument about that, apart from one of cost, but it could be turned on its head and we could say, 'Can we not afford this? Is there a way to achieve those reductions without it?'. I do not think that there is."

The bishop said research and development were "vital", and that the Government should not rely on private enterprise but actively invest in this area.

"We are heading for a massive skill shortage unless we do something about this now and step up hugely the amount of money spent on research. It is greatly needed," he said.

"We are having such trouble finding anybody to build our reactors at the moment because we have trusted to private enterprise, and things of this scale have to be joined up and have government support.

"I would like us also to have something that is far more clear, coherent and comprehensive with a commitment from the Government to go for that, and then others would come aboard with university and other research money to follow."

The bishop went on to say that the national decommissioning authority needed to be given a remit that was "fit for purpose" and would "change the mindset so that some of what is regarded as waste can be regarded as fuel".