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New Sizewell could go ahead

PUBLISHED: 07:10 15 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:21 03 March 2010

THE prospect of a new nuclear power station being built at Sizewell in Suffolk is still alive following a key Government report, it has emerged.

A long-awaited study into the nation's energy needs has refused to close the door on the nuclear industry.

THE prospect of a new nuclear power station being built at Sizewell in Suffolk is still alive following a key Government report, it has emerged.

A long-awaited study into the nation's energy needs has refused to close the door on the nuclear industry.

It means British Energy's hopes to build new power stations at the likes of Sizewell, in Suffolk, and Bradwell, in Essex, could still be pursued.

Last night, some anti-nuclear protesters hit out at the Energy Review, which provides a blueprint for action for the next 50 years.

Leading Suffolk campaigner Charles Barnett said the door should be firmly shut in the face of what he called a "dangerous and out-dated" technology.

Mr Barnett, chairman of the Shut Down Sizewell Campaign, said: "It has no role to play in curbing the emission of global warming gases."

Leiston Town Council chairman, Rachel Britton, added: "I think they should turn their backs on nuclear power altogether.

"If I was a betting person I would lay a bet on there being a Sizewell C in the next 20 years, but I think the decision is misguided."

She added: "I think if the Government put anything like the amount of investment they have into power stations into other energy sources we would have got ahead so much faster. We would have bigger visions of solar, wave and wind power."

The report makes plain the door must be kept open for nuclear power but makes no suggestion of taxpayers' aid in order to revive an industry which, unless new plants are built, will have died out in the UK by the middle of the century.

A spokesman for British Energy said the new report acknowledged the valuable role played by nuclear generation and renewable energy.

He said the company believed that to maintain a secure diversity of energy sources, a new generation of nuclear plants should be built to replace the ageing power stations – such as Sizewell A and Bradwell – which are due to close within the next few years.

He added: "The UK has a real opportunity to take a lead in showing how nuclear, fossil fuel, renewables and hydro power, along with energy savings, can combine to produce a strategy which is balanced, secure and sustainable."

The Whitehall think-tank which produced the report says renewables and energy saving should have a bigger role in the future.

The report, ordered by the Prime Minister from the Cabinet Office Performance and Innovation Unit, sets out how the country can meet its international commitments for cutting polluting greenhouse gases without burning more coal, gas and oil.

The report says there should be a new 20% target for power saving in the domestic sector by 2010, with a further 20% in the following decade.

Electricity generated from wind, wave, solar and other renewable sources should also be increased by 20% by 2020.

Prime Minister Tony Blair ordered the study last year as a response to the UK's legally binding commitment to cut polluting carbon dioxide emissions from transport and industry under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

Greenpeace energy campaigner Matthew Spencer said Labour looked ready to rekindle its "love affair' with nuclear power.

But Howard Rooms, national secretary of nuklear21 ), which campaigns on behalf of more than 60,000 UK nuclear power workers, said: "Today's decision is good news for the environment, good news for maintaining a diverse and secure energy supply in the UK and good news for the civil nuclear power industry and the workers it employs."

British Nuclear Fuels chief executive Norman Askew said: "The report is quite clear in stating that we must keep the nuclear option."

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