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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 March 2008, 12:38 GMT
Nuclear plans attract fresh fire
France nuclear plant
France has already begun to build next generation reactors
Anti-nuclear groups have expressed their disappointment at reports that the UK is poised to join France in creating new nuclear generators.

The Guardian newspaper reported that plans for the joint venture are to be announced when French President Nicolas Sarkozy visits the UK next week.

Friends of the Earth says developing nuclear technology was "nonsense" when it comes to tackling climate change.

Downing Street officials said they would not comment on the report.

Nuclear power is limited, dangerous and requires a lot of hi-tech skills to deal with the waste. By far the better technology is renewables
Friends of the Earth

According to the Guardian, the plan calls for the UK to tap into France's nuclear expertise to create both a skilled workforce and technology that can be exported worldwide within the next 15 years.

Renewables

The paper says the UK is eager to come up with alternatives to fossil fuels.

But Friends of the Earth campaigner Neil Crumpton said: "The idea of selling nuclear power around the world as a solution to climate change is just nonsense.

"Nuclear power is limited, dangerous and requires a lot of hi-tech skills to deal with the waste. By far the better technology is renewables."

Mr Crumpton said desert climates need to look to solar energy, while more northerly countries should embrace wind power.

"It is these safe, simple, easily constructed technologies that the UK and all other countries should be promoting."

World leader

Prime Minister Gordon Brown wants to limit reliance on imported natural gas from Russia at a time when the UK's North Sea oil reserves are beginning to dwindle.

Currently, the UK derives only 20% of its electricity from an ageing stock of nuclear plants, compared with 79% in France - a recognised world leader in nuclear power.

The UK has begun the process of licensing newer nuclear reactor designs as a first step towards building more reactors.

Sellafield nuclear station
Sellafield is one of Britain's aging nuclear facilities

News of the venture comes just days after British Energy, the country's biggest nuclear provider, announced it was in talks that could lead to a "business combination or an offer" for the firm.

A spokeswoman for British Energy, which operates eight nuclear stations in the UK, said she could not comment further on whether or not there is a link with the government's plan to join forces with France.



SEE ALSO
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17 Mar 08 |  Business
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10 Jan 08 |  Scotland

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