Tony Blair is ready to give a new generation of nuclear power stations the go-ahead, Downing Street hinted last night.
The Government denied the Prime Minister had made a final decision, but pointed to emerging evidence that renewable energy - such as wind and wave power - was "not 100 per cent effective".
It was also reported that the new nuclear power stations will be approved if they can meet tests set by the Government, such as whether they can be shown to operate without subsidy, handle waste safely and not be vulnerable to terrorist attack.
Alan Johnson, the Trade and Industry Secretary, is expected to tell the Commons Environmental Audit Committee today that the Government's energy review is biased towards the nuclear option. The Prime Minister is convinced that it is the only way to secure energy needs and cut greenhouse gas emissions and has promised a decision on new stations by the end of next year.
His expert on the subject, Professor Sir David King, the Chief Scientific Advisor, who once opposed nuclear power, has told Mr Blair that the nuclear stations will be able to operate without subsidy so long as they are given lengthy contracts.