· Source ADIT, Grande-Bretagne: en route pour des centrales nucléaires d'un nouveau type (
     A new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK has been given the formal go-ahead by the government.
     Business Secretary John Hutton told MPs nuclear power would help secure the UK's future energy supplies and fight climate change.
     He said nuclear was "tried and tested", safe and "affordable" and was one of the cheapest options for the UK to meet its carbon reduction targets
     But critics say new reactors will be expensive, dirty and dangerous.
     Existing nuclear power stations produce about 20% of the UK's electricity.
     Ministers say a decision is necessary now, as many nuclear and coal-fired power stations are due to close within 20 years.
     The government's former chief scientific adviser, Sir David King, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme:
     "Nuclear is no longer expensive, given the price of oil and gas...
     Obviously [safety] is a question that has to be dealt with very, very carefully."
     He added that France had the "lowest carbon footprint in Europe" because of its use of nuclear power.
     But Green Party principle speaker Caroline Lucas said: "What we are being offered by the government is far too little too late, at far too high a price.
     We should be putting energy efficiency at the heart of our strategy."
     The government's 2006 Energy Review said the private sector should "initiate, fund, construct and operate new nuclear plants".
     It said ministers should help by "addressing potential barriers", such as changing planning laws.
     The government is also publishing an Energy Bill designed to reduce carbon emissions and secure the UK's power supplies.
     Mr Brown said on Wednesday that ministers were also looking at how to use more renewable sources, such as wind and wave power.
     In 2006, the then prime minister Tony Blair said new nuclear stations should be built to reduce carbon emissions and Britain's reliance on oil and gas imports.
     But that decision was put on hold after a High Court judged ruled the consultation part of the initial energy review was "seriously flawed", following a challenge by Greenpeace.
     A second consultation finished in October but that has also been criticised. Greenpeace says its lawyers will be examining the government's statement.
     The campaign group claims research shows that even 10 new reactors would cut the UK's carbon emissions by only about 4% some time after 2025.
     Environmental campaigners are also concerned that a concentration on nuclear power will deflect attention and funding from development of renewable energy and "carbon capture" projects.
     The Conservative Party backs nuclear power but says it should go ahead without subsidy.
     The Liberal Democrats reject its use because of the risk of accidents and what they describe as "the long-term legacy of waste".
     Party leader Nick Clegg said: "The government must be honest about how much it will cost to build and run new nuclear power stations and who is going to pick up the bill."
     But Dougie Rooney of the Unite union, which represents workers in the nuclear industry, called for "a bold vision with clear deadlines to enable companies to plan for new nuclear reactors". 
     Although energy policy is not devolved, Scottish ministers have control of the planning system and also have to give consent under the Electricity Act to the construction of new power stations above a certain size.
     Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond has said there is "no chance" of more nuclear power stations being built in.
Nuclear power stations
Station Capacity in MW Closes
Calder Hall 194 2003
Chapelcross 196 2005
Dungeness A 450 2006
Dungeness B 1110 2018
Hartlepool 1210 2014
Heysham 1 1150 2014
Heysham 2 1250 2023
Hinkley Point B 1220 2016
Hunterston B 1190 2016
Oldbury 434 2008
Sizewell A 420 2006
Sizewell B 1188 2035
Torness 1250 2023
Wylfa 980 2010
Source: DTI