Digby Jones says six new nuclear power plants needed

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The Independent Online

The head of the CBI called yesterday for the construction of six new nuclear power stations over the next decade.

The head of the CBI called yesterday for the construction of six new nuclear power stations over the next decade.

But Digby Jones was rebuffed by representatives of all three main political parties, including the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Patricia Hewitt, who said there was no chance of a new nuclear programme within that timescale if at all. "There isn't a single company coming to me and asking to build a new nuclear station in the next 10 years or after that," she said.

Mr Jones said new nuclear capacity was needed if Britain was to meet its environmental emissions targets and guarantee security of supply because relying on wind energy alone was not enough. He also criticised the "hypocrisy" of people who opposed nuclear power on environmental grounds and yet paid the state-owned French power company EDF to import nuclear-generated electricity.

Ms Hewitt said the key to Britain meeting the target of a 20 per cent cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020 was the new emissions trading scheme, which takes effect across Europe next year.

Oliver Letwin, the shadow Chancellor, said a Conservative government would allow the market to decide whether new nuclear stations were necessary, while Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrats' Treasury spokesman, argued that if private industry had to pay theclean-up costs and for decommissioning it would never be an economic proposition.

Mr Jones also clashed with the politicians over the support given to UK Trade and Industry, the government body which promotes UK exports and inward investment. UKTI has suffered a 12 per cent budget cut.

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