Don't rush to nuclear power, warns Blair's environment adviser

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Indy Politics

Tony Blair's own environmental adviser has warned him that building more nuclear power stations could "drain resources" from developing renewable energy and other green forms of fuel.

In a report to the Government's energy review, the Environment Agency has warned that no more power stations should be built until the Government has devised a strategy for disposing of tons of nuclear waste.

It warns that new power stations "would add to the UK's existing nuclear waste inventory" and says it is important that Britain does not rely on nuclear power to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.

The submission will prove an embarrassing setback to the Prime Minister, who last week gave the green light for a new generation of nuclear power stations and said the issue was "back on the agenda with a vengeance".

But the Environment Agency, a neutral body, has warned against rushing to build a new generation of nuclear power stations until a number of serious issues, including flooding of nuclear sites, are resolved.

The report also says a dedicated subsidy for nuclear new build "could drain resources from investment innovation and development of a whole range of promising low-carbon emissions. These include energy efficiency, renewable energy and potentially carbon capture and storage."

The submission was made available to Mr Blair before he gave his approval to new nuclear power stations. It said nuclear power needed to be compared, on cost, safety and security grounds, with other ways of reducing carbon emissions.

Clive Bates, head of environmental policy at the Environment Agency, said: "We think it is wrong to be either for or against nuclear in principle. They have to show they can deal with waste and safety, and that security and proliferation risks are acceptable."

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