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on february 15, 2007, ruling in favour of environmental group Greenpeace, a uk court said the consultation process for the government's 2006 energy review report was "seriously flawed", "misleading" and "procedurally unfair". The order came as a setback to government's plans to build a new generation of nuclear plants. It will further delay the government's 2007 energy white paper that was to come out in March.
The ruling was in response to a case filed by Greenpeace with the uk High Court on October 5, 2006. It requested a judicial review of the government's 'The Energy Challenge Energy Review Report', 2006, which it claimed, failed to meet the parameters of a "full public consultation" because it did not resolve key issues surrounding a new generation of nuclear power stations, like dealing with radioactive waste, financial costs and reactor design.
Justice Sullivan said the consultation process contained no information of substance on two critical issues the economics of building nuclear plants and the disposal of waste. All the information of any substance on those issues had emerged after the consultation period had concluded, he said. Therefore the consultation "process was manifestly inadequate and unfair" since insufficient information had been made available by the government to make an "intelligent response".
Greenpeace claimed there were safer, cheaper, more efficient and effective ways than nuclear power to meet uk's energy needs and cut greenhouse gas emissions, for instance decentralised energy. "The government's so-called consultation on nuclear power was obviously a sham, and we're pleased that the judge has agreed with us," said Sarah North, head of Greenpeace's nuclear campaign. "The government completely failed to consult adequately and even kept relevant documents to themselves. They've now been forced back to the drawing board to conduct a proper and lengthy review."
Proponents of nuclear energy claimed it was emissions free. uk prime minister Tony Blair was reported to have said, "If we don't replace our existing nuclear power stations which are coming to an end, we will find it virtually impossible to meet our climate change targets (and) we'll end up importing even larger amounts of foreign gas."
The department of trade and industry (dti) hastened to reassure the nuclear industry and investors that essential planning and licensing reforms to accelerate the construction of new plants would go ahead, in spite of the ruling. Though the nuclear industry was disappointed with the ruling it too would continue to push for new nuclear facilities. "There is a clear and obvious need for new generation capacity and nuclear power needs to be a part of that," said Sue Fletcher, spokesperson for British Energy Group Plc, uk's biggest power generator.