Blair favours more nuclear plants

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said climate change is a threat to the energy supply and announced that the British government may consider commissioning a new generation of nuclear power stations.

    Blair: Climate change is producing a sense of urgency

    "The issue back on the agenda with a vengeance is energy policy," Blair said on Tuesday in a speech at a hastily erected podium after a protest by anti-nuclear campaigners forced officials to change the venue at the last minute.

    "Energy prices have risen. Energy supply is under threat.

    Climate change is producing a sense of urgency."

    Nuclear power provides a fifth of Britain's

    electricity, but the nation's 12 nuclear power plants are

    ageing and unless replaced will provide 4% by

    2010.

    A government policy paper on energy resources that will be

    issued by the middle of 2006 will address the

    possibility of a new generation of nuclear power stations

    that could provide enough energy for the country, Blair

    said.

    "In Britain, on any basis, we also have the issue of our

    transition from being self-sufficient in gas supply to

    being an importer," he said.

    Environmental concerns

    Activists worry that more nuclear power plants would hurt

    the environment.

    Activists worry more nuclear
    plants will hurt the environment

    Earlier on Tuesday, two activists from the environmental

    pressure group Greenpeace clambered high into the rafters

    of the hall in Islington, in north London, where Blair was

    to speak.

    Dressed in suits and ties, the pair wore high visibility

    vests and appeared to have security passes. They used

    safety harnesses to attach themselves to the frame of the

    roof and sprinkled hundreds of yellow stickers bearing an

    anti-nuclear slogan onto the delegates below.

    Conference organisers said Greenpeace offered to end the

    protest in exchange for 10 minutes to speak before Blair -

    a request rejected by Digby Jones, director general of the

    Confederation of British Industry.

    Security staff cleared the hall of delegates and Blair

    instead spoke in a cramped room where participants

    were forced to stand.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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