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Frequently Asked Questions

Where does the name 18for0 come from?

Ireland is planning to achieve 80% electricity from renewables by 2030. Our independent research shows that a mix of electricity technologies including 18% nuclear would minimize our carbon emissions fastest. This could be achieved by 2037 and is cheaper and costs less than extending the existing net zero plans.

Where does the name 18for0 come from?

Ireland is planning to achieve 80% electricity from renewables by 2030. Our independent research shows that a mix of electricity technologies including 18% nuclear would minimize our carbon emissions fastest. This could be achieved by 2037 and is cheaper and costs less than extending the existing net zero plans.

Why is removing the ban important?

Nuclear energy is not being properly considered in Ireland, partly because legislation surrounding nuclear energy prevents State bodies from conducting research. After all, why spend time and money researching a technology that is not permitted in Ireland?

Starting a discussion about removing the ban could have a great impact on the conversation about Ireland's clean energy transition, which has not received the attention that it needs. The current plan falls short of the ambition of the Citizens Assembly in 2018. A debate would encourage us to determine a more certain plan towards full decarbonisation of electricity by 2040.

How would the ban be removed?

The legislation that prohibits nuclear energy development in Ireland is contained in two simple paragraphs that could easily be removed by a Dáil vote. Click to contact your local TD here

What is the ban on nuclear in Ireland?

There are two relevant pieces of legislation. The 1999 Electricity Regulation Act legislates against a nuclear fission power plant being permitted and the 2006 Strategic Infrastructure Act legislates against the authorisation of a nuclear fission power plant.

Where did the ban come from?

Contrary to popular belief, there is no constitutional ban on nuclear energy in Ireland.

 

In fact, the people of Ireland were not consulted on the decision to prohibit nuclear energy.

 

The clause against a nuclear power plant being permitted was added to the 1999 legislation at the instigation of a Green Party TD. It resulted from his proposed amendment to define ‘alternative' as meaning “any renewable, sustainable energy sources and shall include wind, hydro, biomass, waste, tidal, solar and wave etc. but not nuclear fission."

 

He went on to say that the amendment “excludes nuclear fission because some of those engaged in the nuclear industry would like to jump on that bandwagon and call themselves alternatives because they are not dealing with fossil fuel. The provision should state explicitly that our national policy is that there will be no nuclear power here”.

 

The 2006 legislation was a consequence of the 1999 legislation.

Where would nuclear stations be located?

Previous work by ESB in the 1970s identified five sites in Ireland as being suitable to site a nuclear power station. A new survey could potentially assess these sites as suitable for a modern nuclear power station as a starting point, and would also identify alternative suitable sites.

 

At present, all coal and peat plants, and several gas plants are scheduled to close before 2030. These sites and their surroundings should be explored as areas for development, tapping into existing local engineering skill sets and an existing grid infrastructure.

Do we have the manpower and skills?

Yes; Ireland already has much of the technical capability to develop a robust nuclear energy programme, and additional human resources could be acquired through recruiting and training of national and international personnel. There is an abundance of international experience in retraining fossil fuel power plant workers into the nuclear industry.

 

An 18% nuclear power programme in Ireland could directly provide 1300 high-skilled, long-term domestic jobs, in addition to approximately 4000 ancillary jobs. This would present an excellent opportunity to continue the post COVID-19 economic recovery.

Would costs increase?

No; our study shows that the cost of electricity would be less by including 18% than with any low carbon alternative.

Can we not just use renewables?

There is no evidence that a reliable 100% renewables system would be affordable and at present is not technically feasible in Ireland. Furthermore, there currently is no plan to develop in excess of 80% low carbon electricity.

Is nuclear suited to Ireland?

Yes; nuclear power plants are now available that could easily integrate into Ireland’s relatively small power grid.

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