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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dutch opt for coal with carbon capture, not nuclear

The Netherlands will focus on developing cleaner coal plants and raising renewable energy output to cut carbon emissions rather than expanding its nuclear energy industry at present, the environment minister said.

While other European countries like Britain are taking a fresh look at nuclear power due to its credentials as a carbon free energy source, the Dutch government is sticking to an agreement to build no more nuclear plants during its mandate.

Despite a recent report from a Dutch advisory body urging the cabinet to reconsider nuclear power in 2010, Environment Minister Jacqueline Cramer said there were too many unresolved issues with the technology to make it attractive.

"Some aspects of nuclear energy are positive such as the carbon dioxide level, but the disadvantages are also enormous, such as the waste problem and the safety conditions," Cramer said in an interview with Reuters on Wednesday.

Bowing to pressure from environmentalists and the wider public, Dutch authorities have phased out all nuclear power stations except for one, the Borssele plant, which is due to stay operational until 2033.

Cramer said the Netherlands was focusing on developing carbon capture and storage (CCS) techniques to build cleaner coal plants, along with increasing its production from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and biomass.

CCS is a pioneering technology which involves trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from industrial processes, such as power generation from fossil fuels, and piping them underground or offshore below the seabed.

(read more)

(Source: Guardian)

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