Rush for Britain’s new nuclear power stations

Gordon Brown threw his weight behind an accelerated push for nuclear energy in Britain last night.

The prime minister, addressing leaders at the launch of the Mediterranean Union in Paris, revealed his wish to secure a “renaissance of nuclear power” around the world in response to the energy price crisis.

Britain has already committed to new nuclear power stations but its government is relying on the private sector to make the investment needed.

Downing Street is reportedly increasingly concerned about the lack of pace shown by businesses and is seeking to demonstrate the government’s wholehearted commitment to nuclear energy to convince firms to invest.

Mr Brown said: “Britain is moving quickly to replace its ageing nuclear power stations. Around the world I see renewed interest in this technology as countries contemplate the alternative – oil dependence and unchecked climate change.”

The government announced on January 10th its decision to support the development of new nuclear power plants to meet the UK’s energy needs.

Since then the energy bill, currently before parliament, has laid out plans to ensure the operators of new stations bear the costs of decommissioning the stations.

With energy prices rising rapidly at present the prime minister is keen to be seen addressing Britain’s long-term energy needs.

Falling output from coal- and gas-fired stations may lead to an ‘energy gap’, Mr Brown fears, leading to the need to commit to nuclear stations fully in the UK.

The planning bill, which is at second reading in the Lords tomorrow, features a planning commission which will decide where in the country to place the power stations.