Nuclear power inquiry set to cover impact on environment

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

THE TERMS of reference for the controversial nuclear power review will be announced today by Michael Heseltine, President of the Board of Trade, writes Colin Brown.

The review by the Department of Trade and Industry is expected to include an environmental impact study to assess the cost of decommissioning for nuclear power stations into the next century.

The Government is under pressure to conduct the review swiftly by Nuclear Electric, which is keen to be privatised in 1996, before the next general election. The review will study ing the feasibility of privatisation and the prospects for a new generation of pressurised water reactors (PWRs). to provide more electricity.

Martin O'Neill, the Labour spokesman on energy, said: 'It must be a thorough review, and it must include an environmental impact study. If there is transparency in the exercise . . . it will be very diffciult difficult for the resuslts results to be fiddled.'

The terms of reference were agreed after a lengthy, bruising battle between the DTI and the Department of Environment, and the Treasury, both of which insisted on a thorough investigation into the long-term costs of decommissioning.

Ministers were are sceptical about the claims by Nuclear Electric's claims about the speed with which it could become profitable.

The Ministers fear privatisation could leave the taxpayer could be left with a long-term bill for clearing up after decommissioning.

Nuclear power inquiry set to cover impact on environment