Doubts over third nuclear power station

SERIOUS doubts have been cast over the possibility of a third nuclear power station in Suffolk following a Government review.The Energy White Paper, published by the Government yesterday , revealed there were no plans to build more nuclear power stations – although it did not rule out the possibility in the long-term.

SERIOUS doubts have been cast over the possibility of a third nuclear power station in Suffolk following a Government review.

The Energy White Paper, published by the Government yesterday , revealed there were no plans to build more nuclear power stations – although it did not rule out the possibility in the long-term.

It appeared to end proposals for Sizewell C – a third plant planned for the nuclear site on the Suffolk coast – and plunged the entire industry into doubt.

Delighted anti-nuclear campaigners claimed the White Paper "sounded the death knell" for the nuclear industry.

But two Suffolk Conservative MPs called the energy blueprint "a serious fudge" and attacked the Government for "dithering" over the future of nuclear power.

The thrust of the Government's strategy is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 60 per cent over the next 50 years. It will work alongside a major expansion of renewable power sources and more effect to save energy.

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Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt unveiled the long-awaited paper, entitled Our Energy Future – Creating a Low Carbon Economy, at a London news conference yesterday.

The White Paper says the priority is to boost renewables and energy efficiency. It noted nuclear power is an important source of carbon-free electricity, but "its current economics make it an unattractive option".

There are no plans in the White Paper for new nuclear power stations but it admits that at some point new nuclear schemes might be needed to meet carbon targets.

British Energy, which owns Sizewell B and has put forward plans for Sizewell C, suffered a financial crisis last year and said any plans for new stations were on hold.

Spokesman Andrew Dowler said: "We are going through a period of financial restructuring which will take another 12 to 18 months, and that is the focus of the business at the moment."

Charles Barnett, chairman of the Shut Down Sizewell campaign, said: "We are jubilant. The Government has at last grasped the nettle and decided the way forward is non-polluting renewable sources of energy which will not be a target for terrorists, unlike nuclear power stations.

"The nuclear industry has been sounded the death knell. There are no promises to build new power stations in the White Paper."