United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Major Group: NGOs

NGO Intervention, 6 May, 2006
Investing in energy and industrial development: challenges and opportunities
Mr Chairman
The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) called for energy that is ?reliable, affordable,
economically viable, socially acceptable and environmentally sound?. Events and publications
made available at this session of CSD show that nuclear power does not meet these criteria, and nor
does it provide an answer to climate change. Nuclear energy is inflexible, generates waste, is
inherently dangerous and poses unacceptable security threats from terrorism. And relevnt to our
session this morning, it has has hidden costs and undermines economic development. In diverting
resources from sustainable and renewable energy, investment in nuclear energy and associated
subsidies would erect obstacles to sustainable energy.
Nuclear energy does not and cannot compete in a liberalized electricity market. Nuclear energy
relies on subsidies, including underwriting for construction cost or caps on construction costs,
operating performance, non-fuel operations and maintenance cost, nuclear fuel cost and
decommissioning cost, liability caps and guarantees that the output will be purchased at a
guaranteed price. Usually absent from consideration are decommissioning costs, the long-term
costs of dealing with waste and external costs such as environmental damage, effects on human
health and social costs. This makes nuclear power plants a particularly risky for developing
countries, due to exposure to cost overruns, downtime, the cost of dealing with waste and
dependence on foreign technology. Nuclear power is quite simply the wrong answer, and would
divert scarce resources from investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency. It doesn?t add up.
Consideration of nuclear energy must weigh the opportunity costs: every dollar invested in nuclear
is a dollar that could be invested in the solutions ? clean and renewable energy. In the context of
these sustainable development criteria established by governments, it is clear that human and
economic resources are best invested into energy efficiency and the numerous renewable
technologies available to guarantee the right to safe, clean and affordable energy, which has shown
remarkable growth since 2000.
One pa nelist mentioned new nuclear build. It should be noted that the IAEA, renowned for its
optimism, has projected an increase in projection of global nuclear capacity, but that most of this
increased capacity will come from plant life extensions and not new build. The Agency also
expects that ¾ of existing capacity in OECD countries will be retired by 2030 because reactors will
have reached the end of their life or because governments will have adopted policies to phase out
nuclear power.
Rather than to inc lude nuclear power in the ?mix?, countries need to focus on implementing the
commitments made in the World Summit in September 2005 to take action to promote clean energy
and energy efficiency and conservation, accelerate the development and dissemination of
affordable and cleaner energy efficiency and energy conservation technologies, and promote and
support greater efforts to develop renewable sources of energy, such as solar, wind and geothermal.
For all these reasons we call for the recognition on the international level of the right to sustainable
and renewable energy.