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Government moves to establish nuclear energy

May 24, 2007 12:00 PM
Industrial chimney pollution (smoke).

Andrew Simpson says nuclear power is not the answer to cutting carbon emissions

Andrew Simpson has criticised the government for pushing ahead with plans to build a series of new nuclear power stations, saying they are paying lip service to public consultation on the issue of nuclear power.

Launching a white paper yesterday entitled 'Meeting the Energy Challenge', Industry Secretary Alistair Darling said that he believed nuclear energy would be in the public interest and promised the government would push ahead with plans to expand the nuclear industry.

Andrew said: "The government are disregarding serious concerns about public safety as well as the extremely high cost of establishing the nuclear industry sufficiently to meet the country's energy needs in years to come.

"The Government should be looking instead at investing in renewable energy sources such as wave, wind and tidal power and clean coal technology, which would give Britain a secure non-nuclear future.

"There are lots of other measures the government could take to help cut carbon emissions, with sufficient political will, such as investing the money being sought from private industry into renewable energy or public transport.

Reporting earlier this month on the cost of cleaning up nuclear waste from 19 existing UK power stations, the BBC unearthed estimates of £70 billion (2). In the US the cost of setting up new power stations rose from $45 to $145 billion, while in India the total cost was found to be more than 3 times original estimates (1).

"I am extremely concerned that the government will press ahead with this plan despite the very serious problems that remain unresolved such as how to deal with nuclear waste, ensure public safety, justify the huge expense relative to other energy sources. There is also the danger that nuclear power stations will become potential targets and how we would defend them."

For further information on the Liberal Democrats' policies on energy go to: http://www.libdems.org.uk/commerce/

(1) Source: Guardian Unlimited: http://environment.guardian.co.uk/energy/story/0,,2071223,00.html

(2) Source: BBC News http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4859980.stm