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Put the feelers out


Of all the responses to the nuclear debate (NCE last week) I worried most about Stuart McIntyre's preference for 'touchy-feely' decision making.

Politicians may be swayed by pressure groups and take populist options but our professionalism depends on giving advice honestly, objectively and with scrupulous balance of the available facts.

Thus I am bemused by opposition to nuclear energy.

I see no conflict between advocating research, development and subsidy of renewable energy; promoting energy efficiency; and maintaining our nuclear industry for at least one more generation of reactors.

Nuclear has proved over 49 years in this country to be safe, clean and reliable. There is a consensus that waste can be stored underground.

As to cost, it has clearly not deterred the Czechs who commissioned a new reactor as recently as 2003, or the Finns and French, who will have new ones by 2009 and 2012 respectively.

Others are being planned and built around the world.

The present reactors will generate about 3,000TWh of electricity before they close and 2bn fewer tonnes of carbon dioxide will be dumped in the air as a result.

I see nuclear as part of the environmental solution, not the problem. I sincerely believe that should be our objective advice.

Richard Balmer (M) uk

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