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Is Nuclear Back on the U.K. Energy Agenda?

From the Whitehaven News (U.K.):
THE chairman of BNFL has triggered an election row after hinting that the Government would build new nuclear plants if it won a third term.

Gordon Campbell’s comments have sparked strong criticism from opposition politicians, who have accused the Government of using him to sneak out the pledge in a bid to sway West Cumbrian voters.

Mr Campbell, chairman of state-owned BNFL since June 2004, made the comments at Monday’s Technology 2005 exhibition of engineering and associated services, hosted by the British Nuclear Energy Society. He said he would be “amazed” if, after the election, there was not a review of nuclear energy and nuclear new-build was something all the major political parties would have to look at.

Mr Campbell said he had spoken to sources very close to Downing Street and anticipated an announcement within weeks of the poll that new nuclear reactors would be built. “Nuclear power has to form part of the energy policy and I believe it will be grasped after the election,” he said.

U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair has been one of the most outspoken advocates of the Kyoto Protocol, and an open Labor Party endorsement of new nuclear build wouldn't exactly be a surprise. This from the Financial Times:
The prime minister has committed Labour to ambitious targets to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent by 2010 and 60 per cent by 2050. The targets are intrinsic to the prime minister's manifesto mission "to continue to lead internationally on climate change".

But Britain cannot meet its own domestic goals at present, let alone provide global direction. Official figures this year showed that carbon dioxide emissions actually increased in 2003 and 2004. The hastily commissioned climate change review will now recommend policy changes to get the UK "back on track" to meeting the carbon targets.

The review could herald a radical shake-up in Labour's attitude to nuclear power. "It's fairly obvious there's going to have to be a rethink of how these targets are met, which inevitably leads to the question of nuclear," Brian Wilson, a Labour former energy minister, said yesterday. "Does it make sense to get rid of our only carbon-free energy source at the same time as trying to cut carbon emissions?"

And this news also would seem to gibe with a prediction made a few weeks ago over at Prometheus, that some kind of announcement regarding nuclear energy and global climate policy may well be on the agenda of the upcoming G8 meeting in Scotland in July.

Stay tuned.

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