Gorbachev puts anti-nuclear case to Blair
Nuclear power is neither an answer to energy problems nor a panacea for climate change, Mikhail Gorbachev told Tony Blair
Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet president, has written to Tony Blair urging him not to pursue nuclear power, which he says does not add up economically, environmentally or socially, and will not help Britain or other countries tackle climate change.
In London to talk to MPs about climate change, Mr Gorbachev wrote: "Nuclear power is neither the answer to modern energy problems nor a panacea for climate change challenges. It requires huge amounts of initial capital, while decommissioning plants is very expensive and costs continue to be incurred long after a power station are closed."
The G8 group of rich countries will meet shortly to discuss global energy security, and he fears that with other world leaders Mr Blair will commit vast sums to develop nuclear power because of oil price rises and potential gas supply interruptions.
"There is too much at stake to allow short-term political considerations to dominate G8 proceedings [about energy]," Mr Gorbachev told Mr Blair.
"The approach by the G8 of facilitating nuclear power lacks vision, and relegates renewable energy and energy efficiency to secondary status." While Mr Blair is said to have decided to invest up to £20bn in new nuclear stations, Mr Gorbachev urged him to help establish a $50bn (£27bn) "global solar fund".
Mr Gorbachev, who resigned in 1991 and now works in Geneva, says in a book just published that he turned against nuclear power following the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in what is now Ukraine.