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The question: Energy supply

The ICE argues that security of the UK's electricity supply is going to be the big issue of the next decade. Where do you think our energy should come from?

Living in a county surrounded on three sides by sea, my answer has to be wave or tidal power. I am sure that in this day and age we must be able to develop a sustainable solution. In Cornwall there are a number of tidal mill pools that are over 300 years old - it appears that there haven't been many developments since!

Rob Andrew, 38, policy development manager, Cornwall

We need a broad range of power sources encompassing traditional solutions - including nuclear - and emerging renewable and waste to energy technologies. For each, there must be a credible, inceptionto-decommissioning, whole life strategy. To achieve all of this we first require political acknowledgement that single source overdependence is risky, followed by a political commitment to change with backing for new alternatives. We have the technology. Now we need the political will.

Simon Lawrence, 30, senior engineer, Cardiff

Everything that needs to be said was said by World Nuclear Association director general John Rich in giving the 40th anniversary lecture of the British Nuclear Energy Society (NCE 11 July 2002). The only practical, environmentally sound, option is a nuclear power station construction programme. Government must be persuaded that the 'environmentalist lobby' neither represents the majority view nor properly presents the facts, figures and consequences. It must be briefed by engineers and scientists and establish a 15 year plan, with a committed spend profile, to roll out nuclear power stations. But none of the above is likely to happen so we are probably doomed to a massive power shortfall in 10 to 15 years' time.

John Foskett, 54, highways engineer, Cheshire

Wave power. And there is no alternative within short term achievability.

Jim Goodbrand, senior project manager, West Sussex

There should be a role for all forms of supply. But we will only get the right decisions and the right balance if the creative accountants (like those who write off construction costs and refuse to include decommissioning costs in order to make nuclear power appear competitive) are gagged.

Chris Johnson, 48, project engineering manager, Gloucester

Finland has now placed an order for a 1,600MW nuclear station on the grounds that it is unwilling to risk its future on the reliability of supply and cost of natural gas from Russia. Sensible chaps. I could go on, but I rest my case.

Derek Limbert, Buckinghamshire

We should be planning now to provide 40% of predicted requirement in 2020 by nuclear power. We should re-start research into clean coal-burning technology and commit to building the Severn tidal barrage to be operational and providing 10% of requirement by 2020. We should revisit hydro schemes, if for no other reason than to provide storage of excess energy from peaky production processes. These measures, along with the current programme of renewable wind/wave generation, will make us ready for when gas runs out - by cost and/or limitation of supply - by 2050.

John Evans, chartered engineer, South Wales

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