UCC professor: Time to consider the nuclear option

UCC professor: Time to consider the nuclear option

A UCC professor has called for a Citizen’s Assembly to discuss the possible introduction of nuclear power sources to Ireland.

With the battle against climate change and air pollution to the fore, Professor John Sodeau of the Centre for Research into Atmospheric Chemistry at UCC said we need to assess our options.

He was speaking after his colleague, Dr Paul Deane, raised the issue in a recent RTÉ Brainstorm Article.

“Earth is powered by a nuclear reactor,” Professor Sodeau said. “It is the sun and sited some 93,000,000 miles away.

“In Ireland there is a legislative ban on generating nuclear energy locally and it is not a subject brought up in polite society even though the country buys in nuclear energy from France.”

Professor Sodeau explained that articles like Dr Deane’s question whether this should change in the future.

“We need to keep carbon in the ground and nuclear energy allows this,” he said. “It would never be the full solution; renewables like wind and solar will be the ultimate answer but we are not there yet. We need to think about a blend of approaches, including nuclear.

“The recent Climate Action Plan published by the government asks for an increase in EVs to about one million over the next ten years or so, and a closure of our current electricity generating stations dependent upon coal and peat over an even shorter period. That’s a challenge to say the least.”

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