Archive for May, 2015

The Queen’s Speech 2015

Posted by Suzanna Hinson on May 29th, 2015

The Queen’s speech this week set out the priorities we can expect from the Conservative government over the next 5 years. On climate change, the promise is for the government to “seek effective global collaboration to sustain economic recovery and to combat climate change – including at the climate change conference in Paris later this year”. No specific targets and the economy is still put first but at least an aim for progress at Paris. Energy security is slightly more vague with the Queen saying: “measures will be introduced to increase energy security”. The new Energy Bill also aims to “ensure there will be affordable and reliable energy for businesses and families” but again, how this will be achieved is not clear. It is clear it will not be through onshore wind, who will soon lose their subsidies and have “consenting power” handed over to local authorities. But nuclear may have a part to play with DECC stating the importance of “new energy infrastructure [including] new nuclear and renewables, as well as exploring for shale gas”. Lets hope they are open to new, advanced, clean nuclear, as well as conventional.

AW Centenary Speech

20th April 2015 would have been Dr Alvin Weinberg’s 100th birthday, and so the Foundation was delighted to host a special event at Imperial College London to commemorate Dr Weinberg’s centenary and to discuss the future of advanced clean energy technology like Molten Salt Reactors.

The Foundation was thrilled and honoured when Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, kindly agreed to speak at the special centenary event. Like Dr Weinberg, Lord Rees has long been concerned by technology’s long-term and unintended consequences, and he is a renowned advocate of clean energy R&D to fight climate change.

The event was packed, the air crackling with good ideas as leading scientists, entrepreneurs, students and members of the public from around the world discussed the future of clean energy.

Lord Rees’s speech, “Science, technology, 21st century energy and the future of nuclear power” was a magnificent tribute to the work of Dr Weinberg and a powerful call for a concerted efforts to accelerate the research and development of advanced clean energy.

Lord Rees emphasised the vital importance of R&D in the fight against climate change, saying, “The energy challenge deserves a commitment akin to the Manhattan project or the Apollo moon landing…Why shouldn’t energy R&D be on the same level as medical R&D?”

We are delighted to present the full text of Lord Rees’s speech in a special booklet. To download your free copy, please click here.

Following Lord Rees’s speech we screened a clip from a new biopic about Dr Weinberg’s life. There was then a fascinating Q&A session, chaired by our Patron Baroness Worthington, featuring Professor Steve Cowley, CEO of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, Professor Emeritus Wade Allison, author of Radiation and Reason, the Foundation’s new Chief Executive Stephen Tindale and outgoing CEO David Martin.

It was a fantastic event. Thank you to all the speakers and attendees for making it such a great commemoration of Dr Weinberg’s legacy. Together, we can make a clean energy future a reality.

To download a booklet of Lord Rees’s speech, please click here.

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