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Nuclear power “the only realistic way of staving off global warming”

Nuclear power offers the only realistic chance of saving the planet from global warming, a leading Irish physicist said yesterday.

Emeritus Professor of physics at University College Galway, Philip Walton, said nuclear energy represented the cleanest and safest option for mankind. His views are supported by Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore, who said scientific evidence supports the view that nuclear power is “an environmentally sound and safe option”. James Lovelock, who Prof Walton described as the guru of the Green Party, said recently that “large-scale nuclear power is the only practical way we have to solve the greenhouse gas problem”. That was not to dismiss the use of renewable energy such as wind, “but we should recognize that these are not substitutes”.

Addressing the annual ISME conference, Prof Walton also warned that the biofuel drive of recent years was limited, because of the huge impact it was having on grain and corn prices, key food stuffs required to feed the growing global population, which was also becoming a separate global issue, he said. He said the global supply of uranium ensures we have enough to meet a substantial part of the globe’s energy needs for the next 600 years. On a separate topic, Alan Crosbie, chairman of Thomas Crosbie Holdings, owner of the Irish Examiner, hit out at what he termed “the great injustice” of succession tax. “It is an outrageous and continuing tax on enterprise and on employment.” He said he had no problem with people being taxed on capital gains or workers having to pay tax. But this issue was contentious because the tax makes it very costly to transfer the business from one generation to the next and it should be scrapped. A business worth €20 million ($28.5 million) could see the recipient paying out €500,000 in tax to the state, he said. (