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Go-ahead likely for new nuclear stations

Reports suggested yesterday that the cabinet's Energy and Environment Committee – chaired by Tony Blair and attended by senior ministers including Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling, the Industry Secretary, and Douglas Alexander, the Scottish Secretary – will put the final touches to the government's recommendations in its energy review.

Ministers are today expected to give approval to a new generation of nuclear power stations for Britain.

Reports suggested yesterday that the cabinet's Energy and Environment Committee – chaired by Tony Blair and attended by senior ministers including Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling, the Industry Secretary, and Douglas Alexander, the Scottish Secretary – will put the final touches to the government's recommendations in its energy review.

Last night, Downing Street declined to comment, saying: "We don't comment on cabinet committees. We have said the review is under way and we will publish it when we are ready."

It is thought publication will come within the next two weeks with a full House of Commons statement.

While No 10 has denied reports the Prime Minister has pre-empted his government's announcement, Mr Blair has made it clear he is in favour of Britain having a new generation of nuclear power stations.

He argues that the nation needs a mix of energy supplies so it is not overly reliant on foreign gas and oil. He also says an element of nuclear power is necessary to keep the UK's carbon emissions down.

Downing Street has indicated it believes the key matter of waste management is no longer the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Ministers are today expected to give approval to a new generation of nuclear power stations for Britain.

Reports suggested yesterday that the cabinet's Energy and Environment Committee – chaired by Tony Blair and attended by senior ministers including Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling, the Industry Secretary, and Douglas Alexander, the Scottish Secretary – will put the final touches to the government's recommendations in its energy review.

Last night, Downing Street declined to comment, saying: "We don't comment on cabinet committees. We have said the review is under way and we will publish it when we are ready."

It is thought publication will come within the next two weeks with a full House of Commons statement.

While No 10 has denied reports the Prime Minister has pre-empted his government's announcement, Mr Blair has made it clear he is in favour of Britain having a new generation of nuclear power stations.

He argues that the nation needs a mix of energy supplies so it is not overly reliant on foreign gas and oil. He also says an element of nuclear power is necessary to keep the UK's carbon emissions down.

Downing Street has indicated it believes the key matter of waste management is no longer the problem it once was.

The issue is vital to the Scottish political context as Jack McConnell has made it clear that, while this issue remains unresolved, the executive will not support a new generation of nuclear power stations.

Crucially, the First Minister and his colleagues are the planning arbiters for Scotland.

Last week in Dumfries, Mr McConnell appeared if anything to strengthen his position, saying: "I am not in favour of new nuclear generation in Scotland until the issue of waste is satisfactorily resolved. Nuclear waste is virtually permanent and potentially very, very lethal."

He also noted that new nuclear stations were "questionable" because Scotland had a massive renewable power resource "not just in wind and hydro power but increasingly in marine energy as well".

Politically, the nuclear issue is incredibly sensitive in Scotland, particularly with parliamentary elections due next May and with the SNP and Liberal Democrats opposed. It is known the Labour hierarchy recognises that handling the nuclear issue successfully could be crucial in whether or not it fares well at the 2007 polls.

Chapelcross in Dumfriesshire is already being decommissioned. Hunterston in North Ayrshire is scheduled to shut in six years along with eight other UK plants. Torness in East Lothian is expected to keep going until 2023.

Taking nuclear out of the Scottish equation removes 37% of its power generation, at 2003 levels. The executive intends to increase the contribution of renewables to 40% of the total by 2020.

Key to building as many as 10 new nuclear power stations across Britain will be making the programme profitable to companies. Yesterday it was claimed the decision to approve another nuclear generation would be accompanied by a number of "sweeteners" to the industry.

However, such a prospect would become irrelevant in Scotland if Mr McConnell and his colleagues set their faces against any new stations north of the border.


Source: http://www.theherald.co.uk/...

JUN 27 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/3228-go-ahead-likely-for-new-nuclear-stations
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