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Lib Dems criticised over nuclear u-turn



The liberal democrat party has come under fire from campaign groups after voting in favour of atomic energy, which it has long opposed.

After hours of debate at the party conference in Glasgow, party members voted in favour of a motion that would see the nuclear energy have a solid grounding in the future of the UK’s low-carbon energy mix.

Energy minister Ed Davey, who opposed nuclear energy back in 2006, said his mind has been changed due to demand for low-carbon energy sources.

Nuclear energy is opposed by some green campaign groups, who say that the Lib Dems are “yet again breaking their promises.”

Craig Bennett, policy director at Friends of the Earth said, “Backing for nuclear power punches a huge hole in the Liberal Democrats fast-sinking green credibility.

“Nuclear power comes with massive costs attached. Ed Davey is deluded if he thinks new reactors can go ahead without public subsidy – building them will result in the Liberal Democrats, yet again, breaking their promises.

He added that the Lib Dems, “[…] are fast becoming Tory-lite when it comes to the environment.”

Doug Parr, Greenpeace chief scientist said, “This motion shows how far the Liberal Democrats have slid from their previously principled position on energy and climate. The party now seems prepared to thrust the issues of nuclear waste and funding on to future generations, rather than take on vested interests and put us on the road to dealing with the climate crisis in a clean, safe way.”

Nuclear energy has been the topic of much political debate in recent years, with many arguing that the process is unsafe and dangerous. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, announced in 2011 that she would close down all of Germany’s nuclear plants, in favour of an energy mix that was “safe, reliable and economically viable”.

Further reading:

Germany’s solar subsidy reforms ‘a great success’ says energy minister

Fukushima: one year on

Getting beneath nuclear power

Is the threat of proliferation enough to reject nuclear power?

Hollande’s France and its shift from nuclear to renewables