Saturday, January 14, 2006

"Blair sets out to sell his nuclear power policy to the public

Independent Online Edition > UK Politics:

"Blair sets out to sell his nuclear power policy to the public
By Colin Brown, Jonathan Brown and Andy McSmith
Published: 14 January 2006
Tony Blair will begin preparing public opinion today for a new generation of nuclear power stations.
The Prime Minister is to attend a policy forum where party activists will be urged to engage in a public debate on the 'difficult decisions' ahead over nuclear power.
Labour MPs who oppose any expansion of nuclear power claimed last night it was part of a softening-up exercise for the go-ahead to be given for up to 10 new nuclear power stations.
The new plants are likely to be built on existing sites to minimise the threat of a public backlash.
The Government is proposing to streamline major planning inquiries but The Independent has learnt that senior nuclear industry figures also want to strip public inquiries of the power to investigate the safety of Britain's new nuclear reactors.
Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that officials in the nuclear power industry want ministers to reduce public scrutiny on planning applications in order to keep down costs and secure the support of investors.
Environmental groups were enraged last year when Mr Blair ordered a fresh energy review including nuclear power, which many saw as a foregone conclusion.
Malcolm Wicks, the Energy minister, has promised a thorough review. But Labour MPs last night dismissed this as a 'sham'.
Alan Simpson, a leading member of the left-wing Campaign Group of Labour MPs, said: 'The review is a sham solely for the purpose of providing the pretext for a new generation of nuclear power stations.
'We do not know where or how we are going to store the nuclear waste we are currently generating and a new generation of nuclear power stations "


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