News in Brief

Nature 451, 235 (17 January 2008) | doi:10.1038/451235a; Published online 16 January 2008

The UK government is endorsing the construction of nuclear power plants to help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. In a white paper released on 10 January, the government promised to streamline licensing procedures, citing global warming and energy security as the driving factors.

The announcement was hailed by supporters of nuclear power as a major step towards an increase in nuclear capacity. ?It's a very robust move forward,? says David King, the government's former science adviser who is now at the University of Oxford. But environmentalists say that the decision will do little, if anything, to reduce Britain's greenhouse-gas emissions, the vast majority of which come from natural gas and oil use.

Shortly after the announcement, EDF, a French-based firm that is the world's largest operator of nuclear plants, said that it hoped to build up to four reactors on existing nuclear-power sites in Britain.