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NO NEW NUCLEAR WITHOUT ROBUST SCRUTINY - WICKS
Posted by on 2006-03-08 18:05:00
contributed by gfoat
Nuclear energy must be safe and secure if it is to have a defensible role in the future energy mix, Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks will say during a visit to Manchester today. He will be meeting safety, security and environmental regulators, environmental groups and nuclear power companies at the latest in a nationwide series of Energy Review consultation seminars.
He will also visit the University of Manchester's Dalton Nuclear Institute, a leader in nuclear power, decommissioning and radioactive waste management research.
Mr Wicks will say:
"The North West encapsulates both sides of the nuclear debate. Just over 25 years ago, Manchester City Council was at the forefront of local authorities in declaring itself a Nuclear Free Zone. This was a reaction to genuine concerns of the time, against the backdrop of the cold war.
"But nuclear power is also an enormously important industry for the North West. It supports an estimated 23,000 jobs in the region and generates expenditure of around #1bn a year. Here at Manchester's Dalton Nuclear Institute we see pioneering research vital to nuclear clean-up and future reactor technologies.
"The Energy Review is not about resurrecting the demons and prejudices of the past. Nor is it about a headlong rush into building new nuclear plants. It is about hard evidence, not just on the potential of nuclear, but also of renewables, fossil fuels and greater energy efficiency.
"The challenges are big and there'll be no easy or single solution. But I am certain of one thing - robust scrutiny of safety, security and environmental impact would be the prerequisite of going down the road of building new nuclear power stations."
Professor Richard Clegg, Director of the Dalton Nuclear Institute,
"It is now time for nuclear power to shake off its old image. For too long in the eyes of the public nuclear power has been confused with nuclear weapons. The Energy Review needs to be the opportunity for modern nuclear power to demonstrate its credentials as being safe, affordable and clean. The Dalton Nuclear Institute will provide authoritative and independent input to the energy debate covering all important issues associated with the science of the nuclear option."
1. The Energy Review is examining the range of options for securing
clean, affordable energy for the long term. A consultation paper,
Our Energy Challenge, was published on 23 January and seeks responses
by 14 April. www.dti.gov.uk/energy/review for more details.
The key questions posed by the consultation document are:
What more could the Government do on the demand or supply side for energy to ensure that the UK's long-term goal of reducing carbon
emissions is met?
With the UK becoming a net energy importer and with big investments to be made over the next twenty years in generating capacity and networks, what further steps, if any, should the Government take to develop our market framework for delivering reliable energy supplies? In particular, we invite views on the implications of increased dependence on gas imports.
The Energy White Paper left open the option of nuclear new build.
Are there particular considerations that should apply to nuclear as the Government reexamines the issues bearing on new build, including long-term liabilities and waste management? If so, what are these, and how should the Government address them?
Are there particular considerations that should apply to carbon
abatement and other low-carbon technologies?
What further steps should be taken towards meeting the Government's
goals for ensuring that every home is adequately and affordably
Comments are also invited on:
The long-term potential of energy efficiency measures in the
transport, residential, business and public sectors, and how best to
achieve that potential.
Implications in the medium and long term for the transmission and
distribution networks of significant new build in gas and electricity
Opportunities for more joint working with other countries on our
energy policy goals.
Potential measures to help bring forward technologies to replace
fossil fuels in transport and heat generation in the medium and long
Department of Trade and Industry
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