EDF chief says no delay to UK nuclear plans

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EDF’s chief executive insisted yesterday that the firm’s plans for nuclear power in the UK would not be delayed after the crisis at the earthquake-hit Fukushima plant in Japan.

“[O]ur plans, to be clear, are undimmed because UK needs nuclear. And the question for me is not to make a pause.” Vincent de Rivaz told the Andrew Marr show.

“What we have said through years of debate - and it was a very open debate – is that nuclear is not the single solution, but there is no solution without nuclear.”

EDF owns 14 nuclear reactors in the UK and hopes to bring four more online from 2017.

However, energy secretary Chris Huhne reiterated that nuclear power could become more difficult to fund in the UK in the wake of the crisis in Japan.

In Japan, white smoke was still escaping from reactor 3 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, and the International Atomic Energy Agency said the situation remains very serious.

Workers successfully linked several reactors to power cables last night, raising hopes that the internal cooling systems can be brought back into use.

More than 21,000 people are now officially dead or missing, and fears of contamination grew after the authorities found higher than normal radioactivity in raw milk and spinach plants in the Fukushima area.