Prime minister says that future energy policy would require the replacement of nuclear power stations and more renewables.

Tony Blair has given his backing to a new generation of nuclear power stations, effectively pre-empting the results of the government's own energy review.

Speaking at the CBI last night, Blair said that a new generation of nuclear power stations would be necessary, alongside a major push on renewable energy sources.

He said: "Essentially, the twin pressures of climate change and energy security are raising energy policy to the top of the agenda in the UK and around the world."

"The facts are stark. By 2025, if current policy is unchanged there will be a dramatic gap on our targets to reduce CO2 emissions, we will become heavily dependent on gas and at the same time move from being 80% to 90% self-reliant in gas to 80% to 90% dependent on foreign imports, mostly from the Middle East, and Africa and Russia.

"These facts put the replacement of nuclear power stations, a big push on renewables and a step change on energy efficiency, engaging both business and consumers, back on the agenda with a vengeance. If we don't take these long-term decisions now we will be committing a serious dereliction of our duty to the future of this country."

Blair's views are expected to cause divisions within government and to test David Cameron on his position on nuclear. The Liberal Democrats are strongly opposed to further nuclear development.

However, it will be good news for the construction industry, as the nuclear building programme will cost tens of billions of pounds.