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27 September 2011
The shadow energy minister has outlined Labour's support for the nuclear industry, as delegates meet at the party's annual conference.
Ahead of Ed Miliband's keynote speech on Tuesday afternoon, Huw Irranca-Davies recalled the party leader's commitment to nuclear power, as declared during his tenure as energy minister.
Quoting Miliband's 2009 claim that "the challenge of climate change is too big to ignore nuclear", Irranca-Davies told a fringe event that Labour is firmly in favour of new nuclear build.
"We are supportive of the nuclear industry and in particular building quickly", the Ogmore MP said.
"Labour is positive about the delivery of new nuclear in the UK and firmly believe that nuclear can play a role in a balanced energy mix."
And, six months after the Fukishima crisis, Irranca-Davies claimed that politicians had handled the fallout from the disaster in a "sensible and thoughtful manner."
Other speakers at the Nuclear Industry Association event, hosted by John Robertson MP, chair of the all-party parliamentary nuclear energy group, included Alan Raymant of Horizon Nuclear.
Raymant emphasised the need to regard new nuclear build as a vital component of the nation's energy strategy.
He said: "It is important that nuclear is part of the energy mix. Nuclear power provides a sustainable low carbon platform for the future and is a core aspect of a balanced energy policy in the UK."
And Malcolm Grimston, an energy expert and associate fellow at Chatham House, argued that the public were broadly supportive of an increase in the nation's use of nuclear power.
He stated that, following Fukishima, the perceptions of nuclear remained positive.
"Public perception of nuclear power was high prior to Fukishima, but inevitably this saw a significant dip in the aftermath of the disaster", Grimston said.
"However, confidence in the safety and viability of nuclear in the UK has now returned to the high levels we saw before the crisis. The British population is intelligent in its understanding of nuclear as an imperative segment within the nation's energy framework."