An Old Campaign Takes on a New Life ; NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT

The Independent (London, England), July 17, 2006 | Go to article overview
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An Old Campaign Takes on a New Life ; NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT


As policy U-turns go, last week's Government Energy Review was at the more brazen end of the spectrum. Just three years after virtually ruling out a new generation of nuclear power stations in a White Paper, these generators were given the official go-ahead. The Prime Minister was candid about the reason for the reversal, telling the House of Commons Liaison Committee a week before the review was published: "I've changed my mind." That may well be true, but we wonder how much thought Mr Blair has given to the consequences of this decision.

There is, of course, the question of how the nuclear waste produced by these power stations (which, we should remember, remains radioactive for thousands of years) will be dealt with. The Energy White Paper had nothing to say about the technicalities of how this waste will be disposed of, or the Government's involvement in the process. But there is also the significant question of popular opposition to Mr Blair's nuclear plans.

As we report today, the old Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has been given a boost since last week's announcement. Membership has seen a 300 per cent increase since it became clear that a new generation of power stations was likely to be given the go-ahead. The organisation has also been given a fillip by the Chancellor of the Exchequer's hint last month in his Mansion House speech that under a Gordon Brown premiership there would be an upgrade of the Trident nuclear weapons system.

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