July 14, 2008
POWER SURGE ; PM Gives Go-Ahead to 8 Nuclear Energy Plants
By BOB ROBERTS
GORDON Brown is to give the go-ahead for eight new nuclear power stations to be built across the UK, it was revealed last night.
The Prime Minister has set the figure as the minimum number of plants needed to provide Britain with electricity for the next 50 years - but more could be built.
They will be highly controversial because of the fear of deadly accidents such as Chernobyl, which left hundreds dead. And they will also bring an increased risk of nuclear terrorism as fanatics could attack the power stations or steal radioactive material. But Mr Brown, in a speech today, will stress his determination to move the country into a "postoil economy" where Britain no longer relies on gas and oil imports to provide power.
He will insist nuclear power will make the nation self- sufficient in energy. They are expected to be built over the next 15 years on sites from the existing 10 nuclear plants.
A source at No 10 said: "The industry will not make the long- term investment required to build a new nuclear power station if they think the Government is not totally committed to nuclear energy."
But John Sauven, of Greenpeace, said: "This is bad news for the fight against climate change. Nuclear power cannot get us out of the carbon hole.
"The worry is that Brown's obsession with nuclear power will squeeze out funding of wind, solar and wave power.
"Nuclear is hugely expensive and Brown's own advisers admit it will only reduce emissions by four per cent."
Britain's 10 nuclear power stations generate around 19 per cent of Britain's electricity. By 2023, all but Sizewell B in Suffolk will be obsolete.
The Government has changed planning laws to make it easier to for local objections to power stations to be overridden. It has also created an Office for Nuclear Development and a Nuclear Forum to ensure a constant dialogue with the industry. Following applications by the major energy companies, the Government will confirm the location of all proposed new sites in 2010. The Government believes the new sites could be generating electricity by 2017.
A NUCLEAR plant has had its fourth safety scare in 12 days when it suffered a mystery power surge. Safety systems at the Cofrentes reactor near Valencia, Spain, prevented any radiation leak. Greenpeace wants to shut down the plant which has reported 27 alerts in three years.
19% The proportion of Britain's electricity currently generated at nuclear stations
10 Number of nuclear power plants operating in Britain today
1956 Queen switches on the first full-scale nuclear power station in Calder Hall, Cumberland
JOHN SAUVEN GREENPEACE
'This is bad news for the fight against climate change. Nuclear power cannot get us out of the carbon hole.
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