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Public backs nuclear energy to help power Britain's future

Survey shows groundswell of support for a new generation of plants to replace ageing facilities reaching the end of their lifeSteve Hawkes An overwhelming majority of people believe that nuclear power will have a role to play in meeting Britain's future energy needs, despite continued opposition from environmental campaigners.

The latest in a monthly series of ethical reports compiled for The Times describes a growing groundswell of support for a new generation of nuclear power plants.

Nearly two thirds of those surveyed by Populus said they believed that nuclear power will form part of an overall energy mix in the future, alongside coal, gas and "green" energy. More than one in five argued that it was the best way of tackling climate change. Only 20 per cent said that they remained opposed to the idea of nuclear power "under any circumstance".

Industry experts believe that at least two new nuclear power plants will be built in the foreseeable future as ageing facilities reach the end of their life. This month British Energy said that it was likely to build any new facilities near its existing plants in the South of England - at Dungeness, Kent; Sizewell, Suffolk; or Hinkley Point, in Somerset. A High Court judge ordered the Government to launch a new consultation process over its nuclear power plans this year after legal opposition from Greenpeace. However, Malcolm Wicks, the Energy Minister, has confirmed the Government's support for nuclear as a way of cutting down the amount... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The latest in a monthly series of ethical reports compiled for The Times describes a growing groundswell of support for a new generation of nuclear power plants.

Nearly two thirds of those surveyed by Populus said they believed that nuclear power will form part of an overall energy mix in the future, alongside coal, gas and "green" energy. More than one in five argued that it was the best way of tackling climate change. Only 20 per cent said that they remained opposed to the idea of nuclear power "under any circumstance".

Industry experts believe that at least two new nuclear power plants will be built in the foreseeable future as ageing facilities reach the end of their life. This month British Energy said that it was likely to build any new facilities near its existing plants in the South of England - at Dungeness, Kent; Sizewell, Suffolk; or Hinkley Point, in Somerset. A High Court judge ordered the Government to launch a new consultation process over its nuclear power plans this year after legal opposition from Greenpeace. However, Malcolm Wicks, the Energy Minister, has confirmed the Government's support for nuclear as a way of cutting down the amount of energy bought in from overseas.

Around 20 per cent of Britain's energy comes from nuclear power plants, with less than half that amount generated by renewable sources.

The survey reveals that 86 per cent of people believe that energy companies should do more to address environmental issues, despite a huge investment in "green" energy in the past five years. British Gas is seen as the least environmentally conscious supplier, even though it launched what it claimed was Britain's "greenest" available energy tariff in July. The company pledged to offset all CO2 emissions from the gas and electricity used by customers signing up to "Zero Carbon", as well as investing more money in renewable energy and cutting CO2 emissions in schools.

On a scale of one to five, British Gas scores an average rating of 3.56, behind all its leading rivals and Good Energy, the self-styled "100 per cent renewable electricity supplier", which top scores with 4.76.

Populus said that British Gas's poor score reflected a growing gap between perception and reality in consumers' understanding of renewable energy. It pointed out that 35 per cent of those surveyed believe that all the electricity pumped into the homes of customers on "green" energy products comes exclusively from renewable sources - which is practically impossible. In fact, the "green" energy simply forms part of the overall mix sent to everyone.

Consumer watchdogs cite this misunderstanding as one of the reasons why green energy products should carry a star rating. They claim that customers are often being duped, as suppliers charging a premium for "green" energy would have had to make an investment in wind farms or hydro power anyway to meet renewable targets laid down by the Government.

Ofgem began industry-wide consultation on how such a ratings scheme would work in June.

Concerned consumers

The Populus survey questions consumers who make decisions about purchases based on social and environmental factors, and not only on price. Findings show that almost half the UK population are concerned consumers

 


Source: http://business.timesonline...

AUG 29 2007
https://www.windaction.org/posts/10859-public-backs-nuclear-energy-to-help-power-britain-s-future
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