Energy companies should have the option of investing in new nuclear power stations, a prominent government figure said yesterday.
Speaking at the Nuclear New Build Second Annual Summit in London on Tuesday, Parliamentary under secretary for energy Lord Truscott said that nuclear power played a central role in the government's strategy for securing UK energy supply and fighting climate change.'As a society, we are almost as dependent upon secure supplies of energy as we are on secure supplies of food and water,' Truscott said.'However, that dependence has come at a cost. It is an irony that it is our ability to harness energy to develop human society as we know it, which now poses our greatest threat.'He said that electricity generation was responsible for 40% of CO2 emissions.Severe weather, global warming and sea level rise meant that 'climate change is the single most important threat facing humankind', he added.As a low emission power source nuclear energy was key to driving down carbon emissions, Truscott claimed.He added that the issue was not about the government funding, subsidising or building new nuclear power stations.'It would not only be for the private sector to propose, build and operate any new nuclear power stations, but to cover the full costs of decommissioning and their full share of the waste management costs too,' said Truscott.He emphasised that investment in renewable energy sources remained central to government energy policy. And he added that careful consultation would be needed to allay public fears about nuclear power and to tackle the issue of how to dispose of nuclear waste.On Monday the government announced the launch of a consultation on geological disposal of nuclear waste.