London (Platts)--27 Jul 2001
Panel warns UK govt to involve public in nuclear debate

Members of a UK government advisory group have warned the government that the general public would have significant concerns over a revival of nuclear power, according to minutes of a meeting held last week.

The warning was given during the July meeting of the PIU Energy Project Advisory Group, which is helping the Cabinet Office's Performance and Innovation Unit with its ongoing review of British energy policy to 2050. The minutes said that "consideration of the future role of nuclear power would raise significant public concerns." The advisory group stressed that "policy makers would need to understand and respond to deeply held public values." Many observers have said the review is set to back nuclear power as a means of attaining security of supply and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Friends of the Earth, meanwhile, were upset by the announcement Thursday of a second government energy review group. The Department of Trade and Industry said then that it would set up an "Energy Security of Supply Working Group," chaired by Energy Minister Brian Wilson to work with energy regulator Ofgem on identifying risks to supply over the next seven years.

FoE argued that "a second energy review makes no sense at all." FoE said it would repeat the work of the Cabinet Office and feared that it was an attempt to build the case for a new UK nuclear program through the back door. The Department of Trade and Industry could sideline the work of the Cabinet Office and its advisors and come up with its own plans, FoE warned. This might mean backing for state-owned nuclear industries.