British government played down nuclear fears: report

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The British government worked with the country's nuclear industry to calm public fears over the safety of nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima crisis, the Guardian reported Friday.

In an email obtained by the paper under the Freedom of Information Act, an unnamed official from the Business, Innovation and Skills department warned that the Japanese disaster "had the potential to set the nuclear industry back globally".

"We need to ensure the anti-nuclear chaps and chapesses do not gain ground on this," the email continued. "We need to occupy the territory and hold it. We really need to show the safety of nuclear.

"We need to quash any stories comparing this to Chernobyl by using the facts to discredit it," added the official.

The government plans to use new generation nuclear power plants in its future energy plans.

Germany and Italy both announced the cancellation of planned reactors after radiation leaked from Japan's Fukushima plant when it was damaged by a massive earthquake and tsunami in March.

The government official said "we should all be working together, including with the Nuclear Industry Association to be robust".

Greenpeace spokeswoman Louise Hutchins responded: "This highlights the government's blind obsession with nuclear power and shows neither they, nor the industry, can be trusted when it comes to nuclear."

© 2011 AFP

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