Only 1 in 10 back building of new nuclear power stations

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The Independent Online

Only one in 10 people wants the Government to back a new generation of nuclear power stations, according to a poll to be released on the eve of the publication of the Cabinet Office's long-awaited energy review.

However, there is overwhelming backing for increased government support for green energy with 85 per cent in favour of an expansion of renewable sources of electricity such as wind, wave and solar.

The poll, carried out for the Energy Saving Trust by NOP, also found that three-quarters of people felt the Government should be doing more to promote energy conservation.

The energy review, compiled by the Cabinet Office's performance and innovation unit, is due to be published on Thursday and will call for a doubling in the proportion of Britain's energy needs met by renewable sources to 20 per cent by 2020. Eoin Lees, the chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust, said: "Households won't need the energy supplied by the nuclear power stations due to be decommissioned. But it will require Government to deliver energy efficiency and not be sidetracked by the lobbying of vested interests."

It is also expected to say that ministers should not close off the nuclear option but this will fall a long way short of the ringing endorsement the nuclear lobby had originally hoped for.

Robin Jeffrey, the executive chairman of British Energy, the country's biggest nuclear generator, yesterday repeated his warning that unless nuclear reactors were replaced one for one, then the UK could face an energy crisis in 20 years time. "The clock is ticking and we are now on the critical path," he said. British Energy has now accepted that the earliest it could get approval to build a new generation of reactors is 2005.