rule out more nuclear power plants
Times Online, January 24, 2003
By Rosemary Bennett, Deputy Political Editor
Original address: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/printFriendly/0,,1-10-553251,00.html
MINISTERS have ruled out a new generation of nuclear
power stations but agreed to think again if wind farms and solar power
fail to keep up with demand.
Patricia Hewitt, the Trade and Industry Secretary,
told a Cabinet committee meeting yesterday that renewable sources of
energy were the way forward.
The decision not to replace the country’s
ageing nuclear power plants forms the centrepiece of her Energy White
Paper, due in the spring. She has argued that Britain has to do more
to exploit its rich resources of onshore and offshore winds. New planning
laws would also make it easier for more wind farms to be built.
Cabinet members are divided on the need for more
nuclear power, but there is no “nuclear champion” at Cabinet
level pushing for an immediate commitment to a building programme. Brian
Wilson, the Energy Minister, has argued in favour of more nuclear power,
but the Treasury is understood to be sceptical about the cost benefits.
Tony Blair is thought to agree with Ms Hewitt that more nuclear power
stations cannot be ruled out, but other options need to be tested first.
Tough targets on cutting carbon dioxide emissions
may force the Government to allow new nuclear power stations.
The Labour Party’s favourite think-tank has
urged it to abandon nuclear power because of the threat of terrorism,
and predicted that coal power will die out in Britain in ten years.
The Institute for Public Policy Research called on the Government to
commit itself to increasing renewable energy almost tenfold to 25 per
cent of electricity by 2020 when it publishes its Energy White Paper.
Its report, The Generation Gap, says that by 2020 many coal-fired powerstations
will close because a European clean-air directive will make them too