» Monday, November 21, 2005

Nuclear Energy

Asked for the Government’s position on nuclear energy production, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) said it was well known that the Government was looking at all the options, it was also well known that we would be putting in place a process to do so and the Prime Minister would be making an announcement to that affect shortly. That consideration would have to take into account all the circumstances including the need to ensure that our energy supply was secure at a time when the very nature of energy supply was changing, both here and in Europe. In addition there was the impact of climate change to consider. Those were the circumstances that the review of where we were would have to take into account.

Asked why we needed a new review given that that there had been one 2 years ago, the PMOS said that circumstances were constantly changing. What had changed was both the question of energy security, which was a concern not just for this country but for Europe as a whole, and also our understanding of the nature of climate change. Furthermore our estimation of the effectiveness of some of the renewable energy sources had also changed. It was wise therefore to think deeply about the impact of these changes.

Asked what had changed in terms of energy security over the last two years, the PMOS said that we were moving to a situation where we would be a net importer of energy in the same way that the rest of Europe would be. There was a growing realisation of the impact that would have. The Prime Minister had spoken about this at Hampton Court and elsewhere.

Asked if the new review would cover all energy sources or focus purely on nuclear power, the PMOS said that the very nature of the issue meant that it had to be looked at in totality. Asked if we were saying that renewable energy was not as good as we would like, the PMOS said that it was a simple fact of life that in terms of wind power, for instance, that they were not 100% effective.

Asked if it was appropriate for Sir David King to be acting as a "spin-doctor" for the Government on climate change and energy issues, the PMOS suggested that perhaps they should put that question directly to David King for his response. Asked for the Government’s reaction, the PMOS said that Sir David King was a very distinguished scientist. Anyone accusing him of being a spin-doctor was perhaps calling the kettle black.

Briefing took place at 13:00 | Search for related news

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