Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Scotsman.com News - Latest News - 'Keep open mind on nuclear power'

Scotsman.com News - Latest News - 'Keep open mind on nuclear power'

Tue 11 Oct 2005

3:05pm (UK)
'Keep open mind on nuclear power'

Prime Minister Tony Blair has appealed for people to keep an "open mind" on the merits and disadvantages of nuclear energy as the debate gets under way on whether to replace Britain's atomic power stations.

Mr Blair insisted that he had not yet made up his mind on whether to order the construction of new nuclear plants to replace the ageing power stations as they are phased out over the coming 10-15 years.

But he said that the need to halt climate change and ensure the UK's security of energy supply meant it would be irresponsible simply to discount the nuclear option.

Speaking at his monthly press conference at 10 Downing Street, Mr Blair said: "The reasons why it has got to go on the agenda - and I am not expressing a concluded view - are security of supply and global warming.

"There will be a debate about that, but it should be conducted with an open mind, I hope, by everybody.

"The issue of energy is, in my view, going to start to come centre-stage, not just in our own politics but in the politics of other similar countries, and that is for a very simple reason.

"We have the evidence of global warming which is there, and that is very strong now - I think too strong for anybody responsibly to ignore.

"Secondly, for a country like Britain, our present nuclear power is going to be phased out over 10-15 years. We have a very ambitious renewables target and there are obviously issues there that we have got to address and get right."

Mr Blair promised: "I am not pre-empting the debate at all. We will take whatever decisions are right for the country."

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