Nuclear Announcement due on Thursday
A Number 10 spokesman said today that John Hutton would announce whether a new generation of Nuclear Power stations will be announced on Thursday in a Commons statement to MPs.
Ministers have been dropping hints that they will back new nuclear power on environmental and energy security grounds.
Mr Brown told Sunday's Observer newspaper that a decision on future energy supplies was a fundamental precondition of preparing Britain for the new world.
He said: "When North Sea oil runs down, both oil and gas, people will want to know whether we have made sure that we've got the balance right between external dependence on energy and our ability to generate our own energy within our own country, and that's about renewables as well as about other things.
"And so the willingness to take tough long-term decisions, whether it's wind power or wave power, whether it's renewables generally or nuclear, is I think a fundamental precondition of preparing Britain for the new world."
Conservative voices have also been indicating support for new nuclear build. Yesterday Ian Taylor MP, chairman of the Conservative Party's Science and Technology taskforce, issued a statement today urging Britain to embrace nuclear power. The Conservatives have made clear that any contracts for new power stations placed by the present government will be honoured by an incoming Tory government.
Mr Brown's spokesman said that the issue of a new generation of nuclear power stations would be discussed at Cabinet today. The spokesman said firms who build any new nuclear stations - if they are given the go-ahead - would have to fund any future decommissioning costs.
He added: "We have always been clear that the full share of the costs of the long-term management and disposal of waste should fall on the operators."
The then prime minister Tony Blair said in 2006 that the government believed new nuclear stations should be built. That decision was put on hold after the consultation element of the initial energy review was ruled to be "seriously flawed" and "misleading" by a High Court judge, following a challenge by Greenpeace. The government was ordered to start again and is now set to announce its findings on Thursday.
Sources for this post: BBC Website, Conservative Home, speech by Charles Hendry MP at a Conservative Conference fringe meeting.