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Hutton 'determined' to start nuclear build programme asap

Government support for nuclear energy will be stepped up a gear today when a minister will pledge 'maximum support' for new nuclear power stations.

Business secretary John Hutton will tell a meeting that energy from new nuclear generators is "absolutely indispensable" for keeping the nation's lights on.

Mr Hutton will tell the first meeting of the Government's new Nuclear Development Forum advisory group that 100,000 jobs could be created and £20 billion of private sector investment secured for nuclear expansion.

"I'm determined to press all the buttons to get nuclear built in this country at the earliest opportunity, not only because it's a no-brainer for our energy security, but also because it's good for jobs and our economy.

"We are determined to get new nuclear up and running as soon as possible... but we're facing stiff competition for this investment and for the equipment we'll need to build these power stations which is why I'm determined to ensure Britain remains a competitive environment for nuclear investment.

"I know many manufacturers across the country already have the skills and expertise needed to build power stations, but more needs to be done to create and support a globally competitive UK supply chain, focussing on high value-added activities to take advantage of the UK and global nuclear renaissance.

"I'm calling for a spotlight to be put on the opportunities available to our companies from the UK's and the world's nuclear new build programmes, and make sure they take advantage of it."

A new Office for Nuclear Development, launched today, will promote investment in nuclear power.