Energy, planning and climate change bills in the Queen's Speech pave the way for new UK nuclear power stations.
The private sector will be charged with decommissioning costs.
The plans, part of Gordon Brown's first programme as PM, are said to be aimed at cutting carbon emissions and getting the best energy mix for the UK.
It would be for the private sector to initiate, fund, construct and operate new nuclear plants and cover costs of decommissioning and waste management.
The UK would also assist private sector investment in gas supply projects.
This would help secure energy supplies, given that the UK is expected to rely on imports to meet up to 80% of demand by 2020.
There would be a framework to enable private sector cash to be channelled into carbon capture and storage projects, which have the potential to reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuel power stations by up to 90%.
And the UK's obligation to drive greater and more rapid deployment of renewable forms of energy would be strengthened.
The plans would help meet the UK's target of cutting carbon emissions by 60% by 2050.