Supporters of Nuclear Energy

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The Supporters of Nuclear Energy (SONE) is a group whose members "help promote nuclear energy". It says it aims to "promote an informed debate about nuclear's place in global energy supply and how it can help power the world's economic development in a sustainable way".

Its members believe that nuclear energy is a "safe, reliable, economic and environmentally acceptable way of providing electricity" and "essential to the world’s continued development if serious climatic changes are to be avoided".[1]

Link to the British Nuclear Energy Society

When it was set up, SONE's address was c/o the British Nuclear Energy Society, a body set up to promote nuclear power that is linked to all the main figures in the nuclear industry, from BNFL to British Energy.[2] It is now 9 Monahan Avenue, Purley, Surrey, UK, CR8 3BB, which appears to be the home address of its secretary, Bernard Ingham.[3][4]

Officers, patrons and committee members of Supporters of Nuclear Energy



The above list plus:



Pro-nuclear and anti-wind activities of SONE

As you would expect, SONE's 'principal activity' is 'promoting nuclear energy'.

A 2005 company report provides a flavour of the organisation's activities. It outlines how "this, the eighth year of SONE's operations, has produced the most intensive effort to secure the development of nuclear power in our short history". The Directors noted that the SONE Committee had "identified 2005 as the most crucial year since we were formed."

The annual report also lists some of SONE's lobbying activities. "Our plan was to concentrate on lobbying a wide range of opinion formers before the election and then to present the incoming government with a clear case for reopening the need for nuclear power and facilitating its development in the new Parliament."

"Since the last annual meeting the chairman has given some 18 lunches for politicians from the three main parties, journalists, electricity generators and distributors, industrialists and large energy users, trade unions and financiers. Our message on each occassion has been to emphasise the point that, in recognising that nuclear power should be an important element in the mix of sources of electricity, the Government had much more to do to enable the private sector to carry the policy through."

For SONE, "it is not enough" for the Government to declare a pro-nuclear policy. On top of this, SONE is asking the government to "facilitate the licensing of reactors; identify sites for new nuclear power stations (on existing nuclear compounds); clarify market access, especially in the light of the current system of regulating the wholesale electricity market, and insurance regimes, end discrimination against nuclear power in the form of the climate change levy; and end the manipulation of the planning system to prolong enquiries and the Government's own procrastination over the designation of a site for the longer-term disposal of intermediate and high level nuclear waste." In summary, SONE's message is that the development of nuclear is "as much a political as a commercial decision and required much political input."

Evidence to Parliament

In October 2012, SONE gave evidence to the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee’s inquiry into the challenges for building new nuclear. It lobbied for a clearer line from Government on new nuclear, reportedly telling MPs that "one thing has been consistently missing from the energy scene so far: a clear indication as to whether the Government really does want nuclear power to be developed in the UK.”

It called for “a complete overhaul of energy policy, to make nuclear power the "spearhead of a drive to obtain genuinely secure, low-carbon and affordable power generation." It added: "We think the greatest step forward would be for the Government to decide whether it really does want nuclear power or not and, if it does, to come out powerfully for it.”[6]

Nuclear is the green solution

Like the Nuclear Industry Association, SONE is also pushing the line that nuclear is the environmentally sound or "green" solution to the energy crisis and climate change. It produced a leaflet called "Nuclear - the green route to secure and reliable power."[7]

Hinkley for Christmas please

SONE's August 2013 newsletter, titled 'All we want for Christmas is Hinkley Point', bemoaned the long drawn out impasse in the negotiations between the UK government and EDF Energy. It also discussed whether the current push for fracking in the UK represented a threat (answer: a resounding no).

Indebted to Lords

The Directors also say they are "indebted to SONE members in the House of Lords for their vigorous prosecution of the nuclear cause in debates and to many other members who either through lectures, letters to the press, or lobbying, give the public a more balanced view of nuclear power".

With thanks

SONE indicates that its website is run by Sticky New Media, which has also previously worked for the Nuclear Industry Association.

Finally in its 2005 annual report SONE thanked "British Energy, BNFL, the Nuclear Industry Association, the British Nuclear Energy Society and Nuclear Issues for their help and support during the year".[8]

All-Party Parliamentary Group

Keith Parker from the Nuclear Industry Association and a member of SONE's committee, was instrumental in setting up the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Nuclear Energy in the Commons, whose inaugral meeeting in February 2003. According to SONE "another 50 who were unable to attend pledged their support and interest".

Officers elected were: chairman: Bill Tynan MP for Hamilton South; vice-chairmen: Lord Christopher, Lord Jenkin (a SONE member) and Lord McNally; secretary: David Drew MP for Stroud; and treasurer: Jimmy Hood MP for Clydesdale. The purpose of the group is 'to encourage discussion among MPs and peers from across the political spectrum with an interest in nuclear issues and to provide a forum for the exchange of information and views between Parliamentarians and representatives of the nuclear and energy industries.' [9]


SONE is also wholeheartedly opposed to wind power, as its letter to the Prime Minister on December 6, 2002 demonstrated. It said: "In the interests of safe, clean, continuously reliable and economic electricity supplies, we believe that the following action is required:

4) end the tokenism in energy policy by recognising that wind power, essentially the only available renewable source of energy apart from hydropower, cannot, even if it were economic, meet the predominant demand for continuous, reliable supplies of electricity; 8) launch a campaign to correct the misrepresentations and distortions about nuclear power which have been perpetrated over a substantial number of years by those whose alleged concern for the environment actually imperils the economy, jobs and the very environment they profess to wish to protect".

This letter was signed by: SONE Secretary: Sir Bernard Ingham, Professor Sir Frederick Holliday, Professor James Lovelock, Dr J Dickson Mabon, Sir William McAlpine Bt, Lord Marsh of Mannington, Lord Parkinson of Carnforth, Lord Tombs of Brailes, Lord Walker of Worcester, and Viscount Weir'[10]

Several SONE members have had anti-wind letters published in national newspapers, many without indicating they are members of SONE. Also some Patrons of SONE are also anti-wind conservatives such as Giles Chichester MEP. In a letter to the press in April 2004 he wrote:

"How long will it take until this Government learns and recognises that the solution to future energy needs and the requirement to reduce CO2 emissions is not blowing in the wind? Analysis of historical wind data has shown that, with wind plant installed capacity of approximately 20% of peak demand, variations in wind generated output that would be beyond the capacity of available generation reserves or back-up capacity could be expected to occur regularly. That means supply interruptions. To any clever man from the ministry who may say the death of a few birds is as nothing to the costs of failing to address the implications of greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, I would say a virtually CO2 emission-free option is available, which would produce the electricity of 2,000 wind tower aerogenerators of the height of Salisbury Cathedral spire and would do so reliably as base load electricity. It is called nuclear energy."[11]

Company details

SONE is registered as a private limited company No. 3576562

Contact details as of October 2013 are:

Address:9 Monahan Avenue, Purley, Surrey, CR8 3BB, UK
Tel: 020 8660 8970
Mobile: 07860 535962


  1. Bernard Ingham, About SONE, SONE website, 26 April 2004, accessed 29 October 2012
  2. SONE website archive, 25 February 2001
  3. Contact us, SONE, undated, accessed 29 October 2012
  4. Director Summary: Bernard Ingham, undated, accessed 29 October 2012
  5. About SONE, SONE's website, last accessed 24 October 2013
  6. Hinkley Point: Energy giant says MPs must resist anti-French attitude, Western Daily Press, 25 October 2012
  7. SONE, 'Nuclear - The green route to secure and reliable power',SONE website, 27 April, 2005.
  8. Report of the Directors and Financial Statements for the Year Ended 30 June 2005 for Supporters of Nuclear Energy Limited (A Company Limited by Guarantee)
  9. SONE, 'The Energy White Paper Edition – SONE Goes Critical', SONE website, 3 March, 2003.
  10. Innovation website
  11. Giles Chichester's letter, People's Republic of South Devon website, 24 April 2006.

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