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UK energy system 'ready for overhaul'

10th November 2009

The government has unveiled a range of proposals to improve the UK's energy industry.

Energy and climate secretary Ed Miliband has put six draft national policy statements before parliament which call for the UK to adopt a low-carbon energy mix through a greater use of renewables, nuclear power and clean coal.

The proposals reveal that ten sites for new nuclear developments in the UK have been deemed suitable, while they confirm that no new coal power plants will be approved unless they include carbon capture and storage technology.

In addition, planning decisions for developments with 50 megawatts or more capacity will be made within one year as part of the new system, which is designed to make the process more efficient, transparent and accessible.

Mr Miliband commented: 'The threat of climate change means we need to make a transition from a system that relies heavily on high-carbon fossil fuels to a radically different system that includes nuclear, renewable and clean-coal power.'

However, the proposals drew criticism from environmental group Greenpeace, which claimed that developing more nuclear power plants is not the answer to climate change worries.

Ben Ayliffe, head of the charity's nuclear campaign, pointed out that there are concerns over the safety of new reactor designs and problems with storing radioactive waste.

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