Nuclear power: Divided opinions

Tuesday 29 November 2005 01:00 GMT

Professor Ian Fells, professor of energy conversion at Newcastle University:

"As you look to the future, security of supply is very important, so nuclear is inevitable. We are beginning to realise we need a more mixed energy supply. The rise in gas prices is startling but predictable. If there is no replacement nuclear energy after the stations are closed, by 2020 we will become dependent on importing natural gas from Russia and Nigeria."

Bernard Jenkin, Tory energy spokesman:

"Ministers should not champion technologies. It's not for ministers to decide whether nuclear is the most effective way of producing electricity without carbon. That is a technical decision which I don't think ministers are qualified to take. Personally I am agnostic, I feel no objections in principle. It can be safe and I don't feel waste is a technically fundamental problem. It's a political problem and been overcome in other countries."

Tony Juniper, Friends of the Earth director:

"The UK can meet its targets for tackling climate change and maintain fuel security by using clean, safe alternatives already available. But these have been underplayed by the Prime Minister, who has fallen for the nuclear industry's PR campaign. The review must cut through this spin, promote the clean, safe measures we know will meet our needs, and show nuclear power is unnecessary - as well as unsafe and uneconomic."

Peter Law, independent MP for Blaenau Gwent, part of the old Welsh coalfield:

"I'm not for nuclear power because the consequences of it going wrong are so great, and we cannot afford to have another Chernobyl here. I suppose I have to accept that carbon emissions are lifting the global warming problem, but I think they should look more at tidal sources, like the Severn. There is a lot of water coming down the mountains as well."

John Thurso, Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, which includes the Dounreay nuclear power station:

"There may be a case for a new generation of civil nuclear power but three issues need to be addressed - the cost, how waste is dealt with and the amount of carbon emissions for each form of energy. Every person you talk to about energy generation seems to be in a camp and puts forward data that favours them."

Stephen Tindale, executive director, Greenpeace:

"Nuclear power is not the answer to climate change - it's costly, dangerous and a terrorist target. Only three years ago Blair conducted the biggest energy review in 60 years, and concluded that renewable energy and energy efficiency, not nuclear, was the way forward. Another energy review is simply a smokescreen for pushing his enthusiasm for nuclear power. Nuclear power is simply a dangerous red herring in this debate."

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