Minister sparks row over nuclear power

A row has blown up in the Netherlands over comments by the environment minister who said on Wednesday that she wants the construction of new nuclear power plants to meet extremely strict criteria.

Her high demands for security and radioactive waste means she would only accept the so-called fourth generation of nuclear reactors, according to various media reports. This would make it unlikely that new nuclear power plants could go online before 2030.
The comments came just after the government’s SER advisory body was forced to cancel the presentation of its recommendations to the government on the role of nuclear power.
Last minute reservations on Wednesday by the environmental organisations involved with the SER mean the body remains divided on the issue.
The comments by Labour environment minister Jacqueline Cramer indicate a split in the cabinet.
Christian Democrat economic affairs minister Maria van der Hoeven, who is responsible for energy policy, has already voiced her support for the nuclear power option. She told the media that her environment colleague’s are ‘premature’.
The employers’ organisations and trade union representatives on the SER are also unhappy with Cramer, reports today’s Financieele Dagblad. ‘This is not done. She should wait until we publish our advice,’ a FNV union spokesman told the paper.
According to the paper, the employers and unions members of the SER had finally agreed – after a year of deliberations – that the government should seriously consider the option of nuclear power when the cabinet evaluates the country’s climate and energy policy in 2010.
However, the environmental groups involved in the SER talks had last minute reservations about various parts of the final report.
Cramer’s own Labour party said the minister’s comments were ‘totally logical’.
“The nuclear power option must only come into the picture when plants are 100% safe and radioactive waste can be processed much faster than at present” Labour MP Diederik Samson told the FD.

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