Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Brown's nuclear power legacy

Scotsman.com News - Politics - Brown's nuclear power legacy

JAMES KIRKUP
WESTMINSTER EDITOR


TONY Blair yesterday indicated that he expects Gordon Brown to honour any commitment he makes to build a new generation of nuclear reactors.

The Prime Minister once again cast doubt on the government's "very ambitious" targets for renewable energy sources, and extolled the advantages of atomic energy.


Mr Blair has promised to take a decision on a new generation of reactors by the end of next year.

Despite the intense controversy new reactors could cause, Mr Blair is believed to be leaning towards backing the massive construction programme.

Yesterday he agreed that atomic power could bring benefits in reducing British dependency on foreign energy suppliers, and in cutting carbon dioxide emissions.

Energy policy is going to "come centre stage" in coming years amid growing evidence of global warming and the planned redundancy of existing reactors, Mr Blair said.

Critics argue that reactors are financially inefficient.

The nuclear industry insists that the new reactors can be built without major public subsidies, and Mr Blair appears to have accepted that argument.

Nuclear executives say the most important thing for the government to do is provide certainty that should a decision to authorise new reactors be made, it would not be changed when Mr Brown succeeds Mr Blair.

"What the industry needs is a decision and framework, and we're going to take that decision in the coming months," Mr Blair said yesterday.

The Prime Minister said he did not expect a decision to authorise new building to be reversed by his successor. It would be "a matter of government policy," he said.

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