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Government points to nuclear power

The UK government believes nuclear power should be boosted to the detriment of renewable technology, according to a leaked document seen by the Guardian.

The UK government wants nuclear power to be given parity with renewables in Europe, in a move that would significantly boost atomic energy in Britain but downgrade investment in renewable generation.

The move would in effect remove the most important prop from the beleaguered renewable energy sector – the Europe-wide targets stipulating that a proportion of each member state’s energy must come from renewable sources.

That target should be scrapped when its current phase – requiring member states to generate 20 per cent of energy from renewables – runs out in 2020, according to a secret submission to the European commission.

“The UK envisages multiple low-carbon technologies: renewables, nuclear and carbon capture and storage, all competing freely against each other in the years to come … For this reason, we cannot support a 2030 renewables target,” it reads.

But the document calls for “some type of target for 2030”, which a government adviser told the Guardian is likely to be a target for low-carbon energy. This would include nuclear alongside renewables and so far unproven technology for capturing and storing carbon dioxide underground.