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Energy: Nuclear Power

Volume 689: debated on Thursday 22 February 2007

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (Alistair Darling) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I would like to make a Statement about the White Paper on energy policy, following the court judgment on 15 February about the consultation process on nuclear energy that preceded the energy review report published on 11 July 2006 (www.dti.gov.uk/files/file31890.pdf).

The court ruled that the consultation exercise that preceded the publication of the energy review report had not been adequate. The Government accept the court's judgment and will not appeal it.

We shall therefore conduct a new consultation, endeavouring to meet the court's requirements. It is now likely that the White Paper and the new consultation will be published in early May; however, if it can be published before Easter, I will do so.

We continue to believe that, subject of course to consultation, there is a case for having new nuclear power stations as one of the options that companies should consider because of their potentially significant contribution to security of supply and reducing carbon emissions. Last week’s court judgment does not undermine that view. The consultation document will bring together the evidence and analysis that we have collected and published since the energy review began in November 2005, so that people can take an informed view on whether nuclear power should continue to be part of our energy mix. That will enable the Government to make a decision in the autumn on nuclear and certain other issues arising from the White Paper. I will keep the House informed.