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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 January 2008, 15:33 GMT
In quotes: Nuclear plans
The government has been outlining its plans for a new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK. Here politicians, academics, environmentalists and the energy industry give their reaction.

BUSINESS SECRETARY JOHN HUTTON

Giving the go ahead today that new nuclear power should play a role in providing the UK with clean, secure and affordable energy is in our country's vital long term interest...The view of the government is that it is in the public interest to allow energy companies the option of investing in new nuclear power stations - and that we should therefore take the active steps necessary to facilitate this.

ALAN DUNCAN, SHADOW BUSINESS SECRETARY

Our vision on nuclear is clear. We must refine the planning system, we must have a price for carbon to establish a long-term climate for investment, We must ensure there is clarity on waste and decommissioning. But on no account should there be any kind of subsidy for nuclear power.

STEVE WEBB, LIB DEM ENVIRONMENT SPOKESMAN

Isn't there a danger with new nuclear that we are going to lock ourselves in rigidly to a technology, for the best part of a century, when other technologies like carbon capture and storage, like renewables, are evolving practically every day?... I can't decide whether new nuclear is a white elephant or a red herring. But very clearly what it isn't is the answer to the energy problems we face today.

CAROLINE LUCAS, GREEN PARTY

They're very successfully pulling the wool over people's eyes over whether or not we need nuclear. The bottom line is there are much greater, safer, quicker, cheaper ways of achieving greater emission cuts than going down the nuclear route. Plus the signal that it gives out internationally is an incredibly negative one.

MIKE WEIR, SNP ENERGY SPOKESMAN

The SNP Scottish Government will prevent the construction of new nuclear power stations in Scotland but the construction of the waste depository is a completely separate matter. The costs of constructing and running the waste depository will be met by the taxpayers of the whole of the UK, Scottish taxpayers will be shafted as much as English ones.

VINCENT DE RIVAZ, CHIEF EXEC, EDF ENERGY

Once the right framework is in place we will be in a position to move fast, to move first and to move safe. And our plan is to take part in four new plants in the UK, having the first of the four providing electricity on the (word unclear) Before the end of 2017.

ZAC GOLDSMITH, ENVIRONMENTALIST AND TORY CANDIDATE

There has never been a nuclear power plant built without huge state subsidies. In the United States there has been a green light from successive administrations for about 30 years, not a single plant has been built despite that. The government has now, the American government, has just now introduced a suite of subsidies which are unprecedented.

MICHAEL MEACHER, LABOUR FORMER ENVIRONMENT MINISTER

I think it's a very ill-advised decision on grounds of cost, on grounds of enormous amounts of waste we don't know what to do with, and on grounds that it's too little too late...I think this is the mother of all white elephants.

PROF PETER TAVNER, DURHAM UNIVERSITY

We need nuclear and offshore wind because nuclear does not produce greenhouse gasses. Nuclear power is not at odds with renewable power. We need to reduce our greenhouse gasses so we need both and I think Friends Of The Earth need to be challenged for saying nuclear power is dirty and inefficient.

LABOUR MP PAUL FLYNN

Why on earth are we repeating the nuclear folly of past years when one power station was 15 years late, vast cost overruns of 75bn in managing the waste? The new thinking on waste is to bury it in a hole in the ground - which was the answer 40 years ago.

RICHARD LAMBERT, CBI DIRECTOR GENERAL

Nuclear is not the only answer - more renewables and clean coal will also be needed - and today's Energy Bill provides the framework for a diverse energy mix. But nuclear's proven ability to generate low carbon electricity means it can play a valuable role.

ROGER HIGMAN, FRIENDS OF THE EARTH

Even if we were to double the amount of electricity we get from nuclear power, we'd still only reduce emissions by 8% which is a tenth of what we have to do over the next 50 years. So, it's always going to be a bit player, if it's there at all and it produces waste that stays radioactive for tens of thousands of years and we just haven't got a proven method of disposing of that waste.

DAVID FROST, BRITISH CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE

Nuclear power, as part of a balanced and mixed supply of energy, is essential for this country if we are to have energy security at a time when traditional sources are threatened or in short supply. To remain economically competitive, we must be able to ensure a consistent and affordable supply of power reaches our businesses.

JOHN SAUVEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GREENPEACE

When you look closely at what Hutton said, the radioactive waste problem is still the roadblock to new nuclear power. He said the government would only give the go-ahead to new nuclear power stations if the waste problem can be solved. Labour would like us all to think that they are close to finding that solution but in reality they are no closer to finding it than Margaret Thatcher was.

NIGEL FARAGE, UK INDEPENDENCE PARTY

I wholeheartedly support a policy of nuclear power which is vital to reduce our dependence on increasingly unstable parts of the world. It will take about 12 years before nuclear power stations are producing energy for the national grid, and in the meantime we must start using clean coal technology. Britain has some of the cleanest coal in the world and we should be looking to this for our future energy.

KEN LIVINGSTONE, LABOUR MAYOR OF LONDON

This stands to be the mistake of a generation. After the tremendous lead Britain has given the world by advancing legally binding emissions targets in its Climate Bill, it would be a ghastly mistake for the government to commit us to a nuclear energy policy with astronomical costs and dangers of nuclear contamination for generations to come.



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