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Nuclear Power

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:44 pm on 22nd October 2002.

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Photo of Robert Key Robert Key Conservative, Salisbury 9:44 pm, 22nd October 2002

The debate has been a wasted opportunity. A pathetic, 19th-century motion was followed by a limp, 20th-century argument from the Liberal Democrats. We should have discussed the future of energy—science and engineering. We want to be involved in nuclear fusion and on the way to the hydrogen revolution. We will get there through science and engineering. We must abandon the country's perception that it is anti-science. It is preposterous to debate energy in an anti-science culture that looks backwards, distrusts science and will not understand the reality.

The proposition that renewable energy is not favoured and is not on an even playing field with other forms of energy is ridiculous. The renewable energy programmes are important and we welcome them, but they would not have a prayer if they did not have free ride on the back of the formerly nationalised electricity systems. We must inject some science, technology, sense and engineering into our debates.

Some of us are convinced that we must have a new generation of nuclear stations, constructed with new technology. I do not mean the old-fashioned, defence-based technology, which, as we all acknowledge, had terrible problems in the past. We want to move beyond that, and I hope that the Government will have the courage to do that.

Will the Minister state that he genuinely wants to support the work in plasma physics at Culham, and to look forward beyond Jet to the ITER programme, which must be the greatest hope for the planet?