United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Nuclear not the answer to energy review

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More gas-fired generation and renewables -- not nuclear -- is the low-carbon solution to keeping the lights on in the UK, an influential group of members of parliament has told the government. In its latest report, the government's Environmental Audit Committee points out that 2016 is the earliest date at which nuclear power could begin to contribute to Britain's electricity supply. By that time, some 25% of the country's existing generating capacity will need to be replaced. "The real issue," says committee chairman Tim Yeo, "is whether the current liberalised market and policy framework will promote sufficient investment in lower-carbon electricity generation to come on stream after 2016." Progress in several areas, including offshore wind, is faltering, he says. "The government needs to do more to reduce investment risk." Yet the government's ongoing review of current energy policy is failing to deal with the issue, adds Yeo. The committee does not agree with the government's focus on nuclear, he says. "Our report highlights the criteria by which future investment in nuclear, and indeed other lower carbon methods, needs to be judged." The government must be more imaginative in pursuing the twin goals of the 2003 energy white paper -- energy efficiency and renewables, he urges.

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