Nuclear option must not be ruled out of discussion
Could the future of the Moneypoint power station in Co Clare be nuclear? Very unlikely, it seems. This country has a legal prohibition on the development of nuclear power, but the fact that the 'nuclear option' has been included in the Green Paper on Energy is, in itself, evidence of an evolving attitude to our energy needs.
There is little doubt that Ireland's reliance on fossil fuels has to end. Apart from the fact that it is a finite resource, this country spends €6bn on imported oil and gas each year, which contributes to making our electricity among the most expensive in Europe. While the idea of alternative energy, wind, wave and solar power is attractive, the technology just isn't there to meet the country's needs. Added to this, opponents of wind turbines are almost as vociferous as those who are against nuclear power.
When Moneypoint becomes obsolete in 2025 it is "technically possible" to use the site for a small state-of-the-art nuclear power plant which could provide most of the country's energy needs. It is right that the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte has included it in the green paper.