PRO-NUCLEAR power groups suffered a major setback this week when a key government advisor announced its opposition to a nuclear power station construction programme.
On Monday the government appointed Sustainable Development Commission dismissed claims that nuclear power could help Britain meet carbon dioxide emissions targets.
Government efforts to push nuclear as a solution to climate change and energy supply problems have used arguments that it is a low carbon fuel.
But the Commission's report points out that long lead times for building nuclear power stations mean that Britain would miss CO 2 reduction targets before any construction programme was complete.
The commission also said that doubling nuclear power capacity would only cut CO 2 emissions by 8% once power stations came on-stream.
It urged the government to put nuclear power on hold and focus instead on 'an aggressive expansion of energy efficiency and renewables.' Power industry engineers said the commission's report was a serious blow for nuclear power.
'It is a disappointment to the nuclear industry, ' said former ICE energy board chairman David Anderson.
'Nuclear is a key component of the energy mix and should not be ruled out.' The Commission also cites long term waste issues, unpredictable costs, inflexibility and international security as reasons to avoid nuclear power.
INFOPLUS www. nceplus. co. uk