UK considers nuclear option
24 January 2006
Katharine Sanderson, London, UK
The UK government yesterday launched a major consultation to determine energy generation for the next 50 years.
The project - the Energy Review - is due for completion by late summer. Malcolm Wicks, energy minister, who is leading the review, said there is 'no silver bullet, and certainly no uranium bullet,' to solve the country's looming energy crisis.
The government is still 'open' to the idea of new nuclear build, said Wicks, but the energy review is not just about this one issue. Alan Johnson, secretary of state for trade and industry sees clean-coal technology and carbon capture and storage (CCS) as an 'exciting prospect'.
The UK will be a net importer of oil by 2010, said Johnson. The UK became a net importer of natural gas sooner than the government expected, in 2004. Coal-generated energy will drop from 33 per cent to 16 per cent of the national supply by 2020, to meet carbon emissions targets. A reduction in nuclear-generated electricity is expected as power stations are decommissioned. These two factors will see the UK losing 30 per cent of its home-grown energy supply, Johnson said. 'The days of cheap indigenous energy have gone.'
The consultation period runs until April 14 2006. The government predicts the completed review will map out the national energy strategy for the next 40-50 years.
The DTI is keen to stimulate a wide-ranging and informed debate on energy policy issues both over the 12 week consultation period and beyond.
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