Azara Blog: Blair announces yet another energy review

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Date published: 2005/11/29

The BBC says:

A fierce debate over nuclear power is under way after Tony Blair launched an energy review which could pave the way for a new generation of nuclear plants.

Greenpeace protesters disrupted Mr Blair's speech and other green groups voiced anger that nuclear could be used to fill gaps in energy supplies.

But business groups have welcomed the review, saying a clear decision on future supplies and nuclear is needed.

Ministers say they have so far made no decisions on building new plants.

That is despite reports that Mr Blair has been convinced that building more nuclear power stations is the only way to meet energy needs and stick to the targets on climate change.

Mr Blair had to make his speech in a different hall after the protesters climbed into the roof at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London.

He said nuclear power was a difficult issue but should be settled by open debate, not protests to stop free speech.

The energy review would be headed by the Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks and report by the middle of next year, he announced.

It would measure the UK's progress against a review carried out two years ago.

And it would "include specifically the issue of whether we facilitate the development of a new generation of nuclear power stations", he said.

Mr Blair said energy policy was "back on the agenda with a vengeance".

"Energy prices have risen. Energy supply is under threat. Climate change is producing a sense of urgency."

He warned that "by around 2020 the UK is likely to have seen decommissioning of coal and nuclear plants that together generate over 30% of today's electricity supply".

"Some of this will be replaced by renewables, but not all of it can," he argued.

Blair back to stating the obvious. Unfortunately nuclear power has a poor historic track record. So time will tell whether any new nuclear power stations will ever be built in the UK. But the UK is facing an energy squeeze by 2020, and the government has been extremely lax about doing anything about it. The fact that "green" groups voiced "anger" is neither here nor there. These religious zealots are always angry about anything that does not happen exactly as their narrow theological tenets suggests it should. And in line with other religious zealots, no debate or discussion is allowed.

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