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Call for nuclear acceleration

04 March 2009

Plans to build a generation of nuclear power stations in the UK should be implemented at the earliest possible date, according to the Chief Executive of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE).
Dr David Brown said that public opinion towards nuclear power is changing and opposition from environmental and green groups is receding.

Call for nuclear acceleration
Call for nuclear acceleration

Speaking at the launch of IChemE’s nuclear technology subject group in Preston, Brown said that nuclear power has a key role to play in the UK energy market: “Nuclear power is vital if we are going to meet public demand whilst at the same time, cut our carbon emissions.

“There is no single source solution to our future energy needs and nuclear power, alongside cleaner fossil fuels and renewables will be required to meet demand and achieve ambitious CO2 reduction targets. Chemical engineers will play a leading role in the build, delivery and safe operation of new nuclear facilities and we’re well aware of the risk and safety issues that surround the nuclear industry and how to manage them properly,” said Brown.

Brown’s comments followed reports that four top UK environmentalists have performed a u-turn on nuclear power. Steven Tindale, former director of Greenpeace, Lord Chris Smith of Finsbury, the Chairman of the Environment Agency, Mark Lynas, Author of the Royal Society’s science book of the year, and Chris Goodall, a Green Party activist and prospective parliamentary candidate are all according to The Independent now lobbying in favour of nuclear power.

Brown’s words were echoed by former Labour MP, Lord Martin O’Neill of Clackmannan. O’Neill is Chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association and said that public opinion towards nuclear energy is changing: “Over the last twelve months even the most skeptical of doubters could no longer question the reality of the nuclear renaissance…Whatever can be said of the banking crisis, there is as yet no evidence that the willingness of potential investors to support nuclear build has in any way diminished.”

More than 100 chemical engineers and specialists from the nuclear sector attended the launch seminar to discuss how chemical engineers and chemical engineering should best contribute to the nuclear life cycle.

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