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Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Britain pushes on with nuclear power revival plan
Britain wants to be the most attractive place in the world to build nuclear power plants and has published draft rules for finding places in England and Wales to do it.
All but one of the UK's existing nuclear power plants is due to close by 2023 and the government wants potential investors to propose sites that would be suitable for new build to start before 2025 to fill the looming power generation gap.
"Nuclear power is an essential part of our future energy mix. Alongside a ten fold increase in renewables and investment in clean coal technology, it will help wean us off our dependency on oil and protect us against the politicisation of energy supplies," Business Secretary John Hutton said.
"So, we must do everything we can to remove any remaining barriers and open up the UK as the most attractive place in the world to invest in nuclear power," he said in a statement on Tuesday.
The government proposes that the Strategic Siting Assessments should consider among other factors the risks posed by earth tremors, tsunamis, storm surges, coastal erosion and sea level rise over at least the next 100 years.
The final selection criteria should be ready by early 2009. The government will then invite proposals for sites to be included in a National Policy Statement on nuclear power to be published in 2010.
If planning approval is given, building work could begin in 2013-2014 with power generation starting in 2017-2020.
Nuclear supplies about 19 percent of Britain's electricity, with two plants in Scotland, one in Wales and six in England.London's nuclear new build plans do not apply to Scotland because Scottish Ministers decide upon power generation projects larger than 50 megawatts and nuclear plants typically have the capacity to generate more than 1,000 MW.