Top scientist calls for nuclear boost

13 June 2006

The UK government’s chief scientific advisor Sir David King has said that nuclear power should supply about 30% of UK capacity in order to tackle climate change.

“Nuclear in my view is one of the wedges that we need to bring our dependence on fossil fuels down,” said King in a recent interview.

The comments come as the government continues to deliberate over the on-going Energy Policy Review, due to be published in July before the summer parliamentary recess when detailed plans are expected to be revealed. However, following recent comments from Tony Blair that nuclear energy was back on the agenda with “a vengeance,” King was giving the first specific comments on how the government wants to balance the various energy sources.

Sir David told the BBC Sunday AM programme: “This isn't going to be the government using public money to build new nuclear power stations. It depends on whether the City or the markets think nuclear is going to be one of the sensible ways of producing a policy which is very clearly determined to be a 60pc reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050." However, King added that returning the nuclear share of energy to about 30% would afford better security of supply and a year-round source which, coupled with renewables, would diminish dependence on oil, gas and coal.

King added that along with new nuclear capacity, more efficient use of energy is required saying: “We need to move towards carbon-free energy sources. We can all live with the same comfort levels, but looking at different sources and better energy efficiency.” For nuclear to provide around a third of UK capacity up to 20 new plants would be required.

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