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Blair to launch energy review

Prime Minister Tony Blair will today launch a review of Britain's energy needs which may lead to the creation of a new generation of nuclear power plants in the UK.
Mr Blair is expected to use a speech at the CBI's annual conference in London to say the review must look at all possible sources of power - including nuclear.

He will fuel speculation that he backs the nuclear option by warning that renewable sources of energy - like wind, wave and solar power - cannot replace the coal-fired and nuclear plants due to be decommissioned over the coming years.

Mr Blair will tell the CBI; 'By around 2020 the UK is likely to have seen decommissioning of coal and nuclear plants that together generate over 30 per cent of today's electricity supply'.

'Some of this will be replaced by renewables, but not all of it can.'

The review will look at progress towards goals set out in the Energy White Paper published in 2003. it will be chaired by energy minister Malcolm Wicks and will report its findings in the summer of 2006.

Until recently, nuclear power met almost a quarter of the UK's energy needs, but that figure is set to drop to 4 per cent by 2010 unless new reactors are built.

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