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UK nuclear plants must go ahead, says EDF

The nuclear crisis unfolding in Japan will not affect the plans of French power giant EDF to build new reactors in the UK, the company's boss has told the BBC.

Vincent de Rivaz said lessons had to be learned but, following years of debate, the new reactors "have to go ahead".

He said the company had already reviewed back-up systems and emergency plans at its existing UK plants.

Some countries are reviewing nuclear strategy in light of events in Japan.

Last week, China said it had suspended approval for new nuclear power stations following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in north east Japan.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has also announced a "measured exit" from nuclear power after shutting down seven of the country's oldest reactors.
'Robust safety'

The UK government has commissioned a report into the lessons of the Japanese disaster, the initital findings of which will be published in May.

Some campaigners have called on the government to go further, with Greenpeace arguing that the approval process for new nuclear sites should be suspended until the report is published.

But Mr de Rivaz, speaking on the BBC's The Andrew Marr show, praised what he called the "clear-headed and calm reaction" of the government, regulators and local communities in the UK to the Japan nuclear crisis.

He said the lessons from Japan had to be put into practice in the new plants in the UK, but said the circumstances in the two countries were very different.

He said that it was very important to be sure that nuclear plants were safe, and that EDF's existing UK plants had demonstrated "good, robust safety".

"Nuclear is not a single solution [to the UK's energy needs], but there is no solution without nuclear," he concluded.

BBC News

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