By Alex Kirby
BBC News Online environment correspondent

Le notizie diramate dall’Agenzia giornalistica ANSA venerdž 14 dicembre 2001 sul presunto abbandono da parte di Germania e Gran Bretagna dell’energia da fonte nucleare sembrano prive di reale fondamento e, probabilmente, sono state ingenerate da una errata convinzione dei movimenti antinucleari di quei Paesi, rilanciata acriticamente dalla nostra principale Agenzia giornalistica nazionale.

Suggeriamo all’estensore dei lanci di sentire al riguardo una controparte, ad esempio l’ingegnere Paolo Fornaciari, Presidente del Comitato Italiano per il Rilancio del Nucleare, che ha ampiamente trattato, anche sulla stampa, oltre che sul nostro sito, l’argomento in questione.


Anti-nuclear campaigners in the UK believe they may finally be scenting success. The latest support for their cause, they believe, is the energy review commissioned by the Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

They say the leaked final draft of the review suggests that nuclear power could lose all public subsidies. But there are signs that the government is in fact warming to the nuclear option.

A report in the magazine New Scientist says the review dismisses nuclear power as too dangerous and expensive, and believes it could be phased out by 2050.

However, the executive summary of the review, which was sent to BBC News Online, says something quite different.

Ruling nothing out

One of the review's key points says: "Government should start a process of public debate about sustainable energy, including the issue of nuclear power."

Renewables are catching up

In a section headed "Nuclear power - keeping the option open", it says: "The need now is to ensure that, should there be a commitment to nuclear in the future, the lead-time to implementation of projects is reduced.

"The desire for new options also points to the need to develop new, low waste, modular designs of nuclear reactor."

The review accepts that the "well-established" global nuclear industry does not need support in the way that renewable energy sources do. But it clearly foresees the possibility that nuclear power could enjoy public support in the future.

In a key passage, it calls for nuclear energy to be judged like other fuels in reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, which many scientists say is worsening natural climate variability.

Energy mix-up

The review says the government "should ensure that as methods to value carbon in the market are developed the nuclear industry is treated in the same way as other options".

Wave power has huge potential

The Energy Minister, Brian Wilson, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the review would "have some positive things to say about nuclear".

Mr Wilson, who is happy to be known as a friend of the nuclear industry, said this week that the door remained open to a future generation of nuclear power stations.

There are reports that the industry will be offered exemption from the climate change levy if it builds new stations.

The levy raises about £1bn annually from power companies in an attempt to discourage the burning of carbon-based fuels.

Mr Wilson sees a role for renewable energy. He is backing the construction of what is being called the world's biggest wind farm on the Hebridean island of Lewis, off the west coast of Scotland.

Despite that, it would be premature to think the review will advise him or Mr Blair to pull the plug on nuclear power - or that they would take much notice if it did.

After all, the government has only just given the green light for the controversial mixed oxide (Mox) facility at Sellafield to go into production. It will begin its work next Thursday.


The European Parliament has approved a resolution underlining the need to keep nuclear power at the heart of Europe’s energy mix.

The parliament approved a resolution that called on all EU institutions to encourage a shift towards zero-carbon emission fuels – “notably electricity generation from nuclear energy” – by removing legislative and fiscal obstacles.

The parliament was giving its long-awaited response to the Green Paper on security of energy supply that was adopted by the European Commission last year.

The paper represents the first review of EU energy policy since the mid-1990s and highlights the nuclear option as one of five ways of “rebalancing the policy of supply by clear actions for a policy demand”. They include energy saving/ taxation, renewable and nuclear energy.

The parliament expressed the view that growth in renewables, maintaining the present level of nuclear electricity production and building new clean coal power plants would all be essential for security of energy supply and for reaching the Kyoto targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

The final resolution was based on a report by British MEP (Member of the European Parliament)  Giles Chichester. Mr. Chichester said it would be “perverse” to deliberately deny Europe such a major source of electricity as nuclear power.

Foratom, the body that represents the EU nuclear industry’s interests in Brussels, said the parliamentary vote “marks a victory for common sense and rational energy use.” It added that the parliament “has clearly recognised that nuclear has an important role to play, now and in the future, in terms of security of energy supply and holding down greenhouse gas emissions.”

Amendments tabled by the Greens sought to completely undermine the value of nuclear energy, despite its acknowledged contribution to EU electricity supply (35%), and to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These amendments were completely rejected by the parliament.