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Page added on August 29, 2009

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United Kingdom Faces a Quandary Over New Nuclear or Coal Power

LONDON — The United Kingdom is nearing a crucial decision as it tries to tackle the climate crisis — whether to make a major push into new nuclear power or to proliferate coal-fired power plants constructed so their carbon emissions are captured and safely stored.

While U.S. officials and America’s utility industry continue to mull this question, Britain’s decisional clock is ticking much faster. At stake are not just the government’s pressing legal commitments to slash the country’s contribution to global emissions of climate-changing carbon gases, but also a stated policy goal of reducing dependence on energy imports from unstable regions.

In a recent report on the country’s future energy mix, Malcolm Wicks — a former energy minister and now Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s special representative on international energy — called for a tripling of the amount of electricity produced from nuclear power plants from 12.5 percent of the national total now to 35 percent to 40 percent by 2030.

New York Times



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