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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 June 2006, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
MPs told of UK's nuclear dilemma
Mr Blair has raised the prospect of new nuclear power stations
Rejecting nuclear power will contribute to climate change, the boss of energy giant EDF has warned MPs.

But Vincent De Rivaz said building new nuclear plants meant burying nuclear waste for 400 years in the hope technology emerged to deal with it.

He said there was a need to find new power sources and a decision was needed now if nuclear was to fill that gap.

The UK's existing nuclear power plants, which provide 20% of electricity, will soon be decommissioned.

If they were not replaced with a new generation then coal and gas would be used and Britain would fail to meet its carbon reduction targets, said Mr De Rivaz.

He told the cross-party Trade and Industry committee low carbon emissions made nuclear energy a key part of "fixing the power crunch".

Cross party support for nuclear was one of the factors that would be key in attracting private investment.

Review due

Paul Golbey, chief executive of E. ON UK - better known as Powergen - warned there was "no silver bullet" - demand would only be met by deploying a variety of different energies.

Both witnesses to the inquiry agreed that if new nuclear power stations were built, it would be wise to consider placing them on current sites where there was existing infrastructure and often public acceptance because of the employment provided locally.

Last month Tony Blair's chief scientific adviser said nuclear power should be used to meet around 30% of Britain's energy needs.

Sir David King said as many as 20 new nuclear plants could be needed to increase the power generated by the current 12 sites from the current 12%.

And the prime minister recently signalled his support for the nuclear option.

Mr Blair told the CBI annual dinner in May the issue was "back on the agenda with a vengeance".

The government's energy review is due out in July.

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