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The question Nuclear power

Last week Germany announced plans to phase out its nuclear power stations by 2020.

This week we ask: To what extent should we follow Germany's lead in getting rid of nuclear power?

A lot can change in 20 years and I understand that if the Christian Democrats regain power they will reverse the current thinking regarding Germany's dependency on nuclear fuel. Britain should make its own decisions with regard to its dependence on any form of power generation and not necessarily follow suit with a knee jerk reaction.

Anyway, more importantly, England 1 Germany 0.

Ian Hope, 39, project manager

It is a brave move for Germany to take this lead. Before Britain follows suit, we need to ask:

what are the alternatives? The burning of more coal is surely unsustainable and unacceptable. The 20 year time frame proposed by Germany may not be enough to advance the current technology for the efficient production of alternative sources of power.

We should investigate all the implications, and we should do this quickly.

Sam El-Jouzi, 28, bridge engineer, London

Even if we stopped drawing power from nuclear installations in 2020, it is going to take decades to decommission them and even longer for the radioactivity to decay. We should continue to use existing installations while they are 'safe' and decommission gradually to allow alternative resources to be developed - we are stuck with the legacy and it is down to a question of economics and risk management.

Mark Philpotts, 26 civil engineer, London

Given the repeated assurances from the British nuclear industry that there is no risk and the lack of alternative sources of energy to replace nuclear sources within 20 years, I think it would be foolhardy to make such a sweeping commitment.

However, a plan to develop energy sources with less potential for a major disaster would be very welcome.

Derek Goodchild, highways manager, Eastleigh, Hampshire

Just because Germany is to stop using nuclear power does not mean we have to follow suit. Nuclear power is still one of the cleanest and safest forms of power generation around and should be continued. The issue of decommissioning, disposal and storage of waste still needs to be pursued and resolved but once it is there is no reason why nuclear power can not be used for the foreseeable future.

Unfortunately other European countries, especially Germany, now dictate as to what we can and cannot do in our own country so no doubt we will follow suit like the spineless country we are becoming.

Dave Garratt, 31, nuclear power station site manager

In last week's The Question we inadvertently combined responses from Jim Goodbrand and JE Gray as one item all ascribed to Mr Gray. Apologies to both men. If you want to look back, the last sentence of Mr Gray's section is actually Mr Gray, the rest is Mr Goodbrand.

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