Brown Says World Needs 1,000 Extra Nuclear
Jun 13, 2008 - The Independent
Gordon Brown has signalled he wants Britain to play a major
role in the race to build an extra 1,000 nuclear power stations
across the world as part of his vision for ending the global
"addiction to oil". The Prime Minister, who will be flying
to Saudia Arabia for an emergency oil summit next week,
said in spite of the risks of terrorism, Africa could build
nuclear power plants to meet growing demands for energy.
He promised that by the end of the month the Government
would publish its plans for a 700 per cent increase in energy
from renewable sources such as wind farms, wave power, biomass,
and solar energy.
But he made it clear that nuclear must play an increasing
role in Britain's energy. Not since Margaret Thatcher returned
from a visit to see the French nuclear plants has a prime
minister shown such enthusiasm for nuclear power.
Mr Brown said the turning point had been the steep rise
in the global price of oil, which had caused fears about
energy security and left nuclear energy looking less prohibitively
expensive than in the past. He castigated anti-nuclear protesters,
saying that if they had their way, a ban on the development
of nuclear power would accelerate climate change and lead
to more global poverty as the seas rose, and developing
countries were hit by extreme weather.
His comments came as the Environment Secretary, Hilary
Benn, outlined plans to offer communities money to provide
burial sites for nuclear waste. Areas of the UK which offered
sites would become involved in a "multibillion-pound" project
which would bring benefits such as hundreds of new, skilled
But critics accused the Government of offering "bribes"
for taking waste which will remain radioactive for hundreds
of thousands of years.
The new rush by Britain to embrace nuclear power was underlined
by the Business Secretary, John Hutton, at a conference
for investors in nuclear power.
He announced the creation of a new Office of Nuclear Development,
within the Department for Business, to build more effective
cross- government working on nuclear energy. There will
also be a Nuclear Development Forum, chaired by the Secretary
of State, bringing together government and the industry,
to discuss key issues and maintain momentum as nuclear new
However, Mr Brown admitted that the Government is still
wrestling with the 73bn problem of dealing with the waste
from Britain's existing nuclear power plants.
Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, announced a scheme
to invite communities to bid for the waste to be stored
in deep geological tunnels in their area in return for an
estimated 1bn of taxpayers' money to be invested in their
Green groups immediately attacked the plan as bribery.
Caroline Lucas MEP whose South-East England constituency
is home to two nuclear power plants at Dungeness, said:
"Brown's bung-and-bribe strategy shows that he knows just
how unworkable his nuclear plans really are."
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