Business and Enterprise secretary John Hutton said that the Government had formed the preliminary view that nuclear power was an important part of Britain's future energy mix.
"We must secure our energy supplies for the future," said Hutton.
"Our livelihoods and the future health of the planet depend on us getting this right. It is absolutely in the national interest that we make a decision and urgently.
"We have a preliminary view that nuclear should be able to play a part in providing the energy that we need to keep the lights on and help cut carbon emissions. But it is important that we know what the
public thinks before we take this important decision."
Hutton was speaking after almost 1,000 people told ministers their views about the future of
nuclear power in the UK at last Saturday's 'Talking Energy' events held in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Exeter, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Newcastle and Norwich.
The results from the nine events have been statistically weighted to provide a demographically representative picture of UK public opinion on the issues around nuclear energy. Government says it will use the findings to take a decision on whether it is in the public interest to give companies the option of building new nuclear power stations.
On balance, 44% of people at the events agreed that it would be in the public interest to give energy companies the option of investing in new nuclear power stations; 37% disagreed; 18% neither agreed nor disagreed while 1% didn't know.
The Government's consultation on the future of nuclear power closes on 10 October, which last week saw the early exit of all major green groups.
Groups including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth claimed the consultation was deeply flawed and that the Government had already decided to press ahead with the construction of a new generation of nuclear power plants.
This week also saw power giant EDF Energy and Nuclear specialist Areva this week reveal their joint venture plans for Britain’s next generation of nuclear power plants.
The firms launched a website outlining proposals for their European Pressurised Reactor (EPR), allowing members of the public to comment on the design before the Health and Safety Executive and Environment Agency make a final decision on whether it meets the required safety and green credentials.