10/01/2008

'Green' Light For Nuclear Power Stations

What has been described as a new - cleaner - generation of nuclear power stations has been given the formal go-ahead by the government.

Business Secretary John Hutton told MPs that nuclear power would help secure the UK's future energy supplies and fight climate change.

He said nuclear was "tried and tested", safe and "affordable" and was one of the cheapest options for the UK to meet its carbon reduction targets

Around a fifth of Britain's electricity is generated by nuclear power, but the last of the existing nuclear plants is scheduled to be closed by 2035. Renewable sources of energy may not be sufficient to replace them.

Surging fuel prices have made nuclear power more attractive to the government added to their need to cut harmful carbon emissions to fight climate change.

However environmental groups such as Greenpeace have argued against atomic energy stating that that toxic waste from nuclear power generation will remain for thousands of years.

New nuclear power stations are being built in countries such as France and Finland, they see atomic energy as part of the solution to the world's energy problems.

Nuclear operators say they could have new plants running by 2017, which would help the government meet its 2020 environmental targets.

Peter Williams, Vice President of the Royal Society, the country's independent scientific academy, said: "It is good news that decisions are finally being made. The UK needs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while still ensuring that we have secure sources of electricity each day.

"To accomplish this we must rely on a diverse mix of technologies, including nuclear power. There remain key questions on safety and security."

(GK)(BMcC)

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