To slash and burn renewable investment for the sake of costly support for new nuclear plants is unwise

Letter to The Times:
Sir, George Osborne assumes that energy demand will increase (“Nuclear deal with China is threat to UK security”, Oct 16) but he should know that, since 2005, energy use in the UK has fallen 18 per cent. He claims a new nuclear station at Hinkley is good value — but how can it contribute to affordability for consumers if it adds £17 billion to the deficit and imposes £2 billion a year on household bills to support Chinese and French state industries?
Osborne says he will sign a deal to build Hinkley, even though he knows Austria and Luxembourg have launched a legal challenge, claiming UK subsidies violate EU law. Furthermore, he is aware of “critical anomalies” in the French reactor planned for Hinkley. French regulators are checking “serious flaws” in the reactor’s steel housing. The results will not be known until late 2016. How can a decision safely be made before then?
UK low-carbon energy offers huge potential for job creation. To slash and burn renewable investment for the sake of costly support for new nuclear is, at the very least, unwise — and will lead to profound problems for the UK long after the chancellor has quit his watch.

Dr Paul Dorfman
The Energy Institute, University College London

Prof Keith Barnham
Imperial College London

Prof Andy Blowers
Open University

Prof Tom Burke
Imperial and University Colleges

Dr John Downer
University of Bristol

Prof David Elliott
Open University

Dr Ben Fairweather
De Montfort University

Prof Jeffrey Henderson
University of Bristol

Dr Phil Johnstone
University of Sussex

Prof Nic Lampkin
UK Organic Research Centre

Jeremy Leggett
Solarcentury and SolarAid

Dr David Lowry
Nuclear Research Consultant

Dr Stuart Parkinson
Scientists for Global Responsibility

Prof Benjamin K. Sovacool
Aarhus University

Dr Alan Terry
University of the West of England

Prof Stephen Thomas
University of Greenwich

Oliver Tickell
The Ecologist

Dr David Toke
University of Aberdeen

Prof Peter A Strachan
Robert Gordon University

Prof Gordon Walker
Lancaster University

Dr Matt Watson
University of Sheffield