In a reception for magazine editors at 10 Downing Street, U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair reiterated his support for new nuclear build, contending that Britain couldn't afford to rely on renewable sources of energy alone.
Alistair Darling, the U.K.'s new secretary for trade and industry, told the Guardian in an interview that he supports including new nuclear as part of a diverse energy portfolio:
"We run a serious risk that some day someone will go into the living room, flick the switch and and nothing will happen because we do not have the capability to generate any energy from any source at all," said Mr Darling.A new study by the U.K.'s Health and Safety Executive estimates that licensing a new reactor should take 3-4 years, about half as long as it took to license the Sizewell B station.
Britain needed the widest possible energy mix and the minister did not accept that support for one form of energy damaged development of another, as some in the renewable sector have claimed in their arguments against increasing nuclear capacity.
Faced by the twin objectives of energy security plus lowering carbon emissions to counter global warming, Britain had little option, he said, but to act as the current fleet of atomic stations came to the end of their lives.
He said: "No solutions are easy. One of the factors in nuclear is that the costs have got to be met. We know it is expensive but to have an energy review that says we are not going to do it, especially given the carbon problem we face, does not make any sense at all."
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