Nuclear power and Ireland’s energy needs


Sir, – Denis Duff certainly makes a good case for the use of nuclear power in Ireland (Letters, October 11th).

However, he focuses on the “in-service” carbon emissions, ignoring the amount of emissions involved in bringing a nuclear power station online.

Processing of the uranium from its raw form to the final product used in the power station requires huge amounts of energy to bring it to the required levels in the finished product.

On top of that is the processing of the concrete required to build a station and nuclear core. Studies on the carbon footprint have not yet arrived at a consensus of the value involved, as some studies do not take into account the complete life-cycle of a nuclear plant (construction, operation, fuel production, dismantling and waste disposal), leading to wildly differing estimates.

He also fails to recognise the environmental impact of something going wrong, which would be catastrophic for an island nation such as Ireland.

The debate is healthy, but campaigners on both sides need to recognise that they should be arguing using a complete picture of their solution and not just a cherry-picked version that paints it in the most positive light. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.