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. . . but Finns back clean nuclear energy

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The British government must risk public unpopularity and show leadership by backing nuclear power, Finnish politicians told a Labour party conference fringe meeting last week.

The Finnish parliament has recently ratified a decision in principle to construct a final spent nuclear fuel storage facility, following its decision in May 2002 to approve construction of a third nuclear power station.

'In Britain you need leadership.

In Finland we (parliament) took a risk on nuclear. If people are dissatisfied they can always change their vote, ' said Mikko Elo, social democrat member of the Finnish parliament.

'But Finland has ratified the Kyoto Treaty and there are no CO2 emissions from nuclear.

Gas is a product that hurts the environment, ' said Elo, a member of the Finnish parliament's environment committee at the time of the May 2002 vote.

'That was a strong argument against the Greens.'

Like Britain, Finland has previously rejected building new nuclear facilities. It had also been increasing its reliance on gas fuelled power.

But Finland has now concluded that building nuclear power plants is the only way it can make a big impact on carbon dioxide emissions.

Finland recently changed its policy on nuclear power after abandoning its nuclear programme following the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

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