Thursday, May 05, 2005

Nuclear Expansion an Issue in U.K. Election

It's election day in the United Kingdom, and current Prime Minister Tony Blair is expected to win rather easily, but not without the opposition kicking up something of a racket. That's the case with nuclear energy, where Blair's Labor Party is straining not to mention a possible expansion that would help the nation meet its ambitious carbon emission targets under the Kyoto Protocol.

Here's the Times (U.K.):

Labour is determined to get through this election without saying where it stands on building new nuclear power stations — one of the “greenest” energy sour-ces in climate change terms, but a dirty word with green lobbies worried about waste and potential “meltdown”. Officially, Labour stands where it did in the 2003 White Paper: ill-disposed toward nuclear power and enthusiastic about serried phalanxes of windmills, rolling miles of biomass crops and “high standards of energy efficiency”. But even if renewable energy sources are able to provide 20 per cent of Britain’s electricity by 2020, as hoped, they would merely be making up a loss of around 20 per cent in electricity supply that will be inevitable if no new nuclear reactors are built. Nuclear energy furnishes nearly a quarter of Britain’s electricity today, but most of its 12 nuclear stations are due to be decommissioned before 2020.

But while Labor might not be talking about nuclear, a number of British companies are gearing up all the same, according to the Daily Mail:
BRITISH companies led by BNFL and Amec are lining up to take part in a £12bn bonanza to build up to 10 nuclear power stations in the UK.

The firms are developing advance strategies ahead of a widely-expected announcement to build the plants should Labour win the election tomorrow.

Both Amec and BNFL's Westinghouse are keen to be involved, with Mitsui Babcock, Bechtel and Kellogg Brown & Root seen as likely contenders.

Whatever Blair's plan might be, the usual suspects are already lining up in opposition. Click here for a previous post on the situation in the U.K. from a few weeks back.

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