Nuclear power

Along with nearly 7 million other customers, my New Year got off to a stinging start when npower announced average bill increases of over 12 per cent for electricity and over 17 per cent for gas.  On average that will mean £64 extra a year for electricity and £95 for gas.  Other suppliers are expected to follow.

The company blamed rising energy prices, which they said had risen by two thirds last year.  As the New Year broke, oil prices reached an historic peak of $100 a barrel.  Adjusting for inflation, the last time oil prices were at this level was in 1980 - just before an international recession.

Across the globe, rapidly expanding new economies such as China are consuming energy and food at increasing rates, and prices are rising.  We will all be affected.

National security is not just about defence.  It also means ensuring that we have security in supplies of energy, without which our country would come to a standstill.

The rising cost of carbon-based energy at least strengthens the impetus to consider alternative forms of energy production which are also more environmentally friendly.

If the waste can be disposed of safely, I think nuclear power falls into this category - so I welcome this week's announcement of new nuclear power plants.

Nuclear power can help the UK to meet its international carbon emission targets and guarantee Britain's energy supply.

The French rely on nuclear power for over 70 per cent of their energy and they have the lowest carbon footprint in Europe.

But nuclear should only be part of a new mix.  It must not be subsidised at the expense of investment in renewable forms of energy, such as wave and wind power.

There's also a huge opportunity for micro-generation of energy in every home, using domestic waste.

Our energy of the future needs to be more secure, greener - and affordable.

Michelle Taylor