Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Tony Blair backs the Nuclear Power Solution in the Energy White Paper

Energy White Paper

In November 2006 a legally binding target to reduce long-term carbon dioxide emissions by 60% by the year 2050 was set. At the time Tony Blair pointed out that the UK was set to lose about 15% of its electricity generation capacity as existing nuclear power plants reached the end of their operating lives. Mr Blair said: "We need to put nuclear power back on the agenda and at least replace the nuclear energy we will lose. Without it, we will not be able to meet either our objectives on climate change or our objectives on energy security."

In a letter to the Times, Mr Blair has once again shown his support for the role that nuclear power can play in the governments energy strategy, saying: "It is right that we consider how nuclear power can help to underpin the security of our energy supply without increasing our reliance on fossil fuels. We can meet our carbon dioxide emissions targets, but only if we are willing to think ahead and take tough decisions over new wind farms - and give serious consideration to nuclear power."

It is suggested that the government intends to build eight nuclear power plants, this will undoubtedly lead to arguments as to where they are sited. People tend to be in favour of nuclear power, but they don’t want it in their back yard. The Trade and Industry Secretary, Alistair Darling, said: "Whether you like it or not, nuclear power is a low carbon-emitting source. To exclude nuclear would be a big mistake."

The Planning White Paper introduced on Monday will speed up the planning system for large projects such as the proposed nuclear expansion. That’s a bit of a coincidence isn’t it?

Gordon Brown is also said to be in favour of using nuclear power as part of the solution to the country‘s future energy security and supply needs. However, Caroline Lucas, of the Green Party, said: "We should concentrate on reducing energy demand through conservation and energy-efficiency measures, and financially supporting the development of alternative renewable energy generation capacity."

With the current political climate in the Middle East and Russia, surely now is the time to invest heavily in Nuclear Energy. As long as we are dependant on Fossil fuels we will not have energy security and we will be at the mercy of foreign governments. With a firm and secure nuclear energy supply we would be in a position to phase in alternative forms of energy as the technology advances.

There are those who are against nuclear energy but also believe that fossil fuels are causing untold damage to the environment. Nuclear energy could be seen as a secure and clean stop gap to environmentally friendly forms of energy. Legislation could be brought in to ensure nuclear energy is replaced as soon as is possible, thus removing the fear of having a long term reliance upon it.

There is no doubt that if relations with foreign governments decline further, causing a restriction in our fuel supply, this country will be crippled.

Update: Independent Article - Is thorium the answer to our energy crisis?

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