Hutton warns new power stations vital for decreasing reliance on imported energy

The government has given the go ahead for a new generation of nuclear power stations.

Nuclear power station

Energy secretary John Hutton said they would provide “clean, secure and affordable energy” that is vital in tackling climate change and securing supply.

Private companies will fund, develop and build the new nuclear power stations, including meeting the full costs of decommissioning and their full share of waste management costs.

Hutton said the measures were vital because a third of the country’s generating capacity will come offline within the next 20 years, increasing reliance on imported energy.

He said: "Set against the challenges of climate change and security of supply, the evidence in support of new nuclear power stations is compelling. We should positively embrace the opportunity of delivering this important part of our energy policy.”

The plans come after the government’s consultation on nuclear power, and are set out in a White Paper and the Energy Bill.

The White Paper sets out plans for a new independent advisory body called the Nuclear Liabilities Financing Assurance Board (NLFAB), to advise the Secretary of state on the financial arrangements for decommissioning and waste management.

In addition, the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate will be strengthened to meet the increased workload.

The paper also outlines plans to use the provisions of the Planning Bill to ensure that nuclear development projects are treated like other critical infrastructure projects.

The Energy Bill includes measures for funding provision and to triple electricity supplied from renewable sources to around 15% by 2015.