Tom Brake, MP for Carshalton and Wallington, chaired a debate about the pros and cons of using nuclear energy in the UK.

The discussion between EDF’s director of planning and external affairs, Richard Mayson, and Liberal Democrat environmental spokesman Simon Hughes MP, was held at Carshalton High School for Girls on Thursday.

Mr Mayson defended the building of nuclear power plants in the UK and the use of this kind of energy combined with renewable energy from offshore windfarms.

He said: “I don’t think we want to have to start our own diesel generators in our gardens when the wind fails. That would be like going back to the 1950s.”

He explained how nuclear reactors were safe and EDF’s procedure for the disposal of nuclear waste, which comprises of double concrete shells buried underground close to the plant sites, so waste would not need to travel around country to be disposed of.

Mr Hughes, advocating for the use of “clean” energy only, said people in the UK would be more in control of British energy if the Government were to opt for renewable sources and would not be too dependable on European energy.

He added: “It’s absolutely an issue to have an investment to get a small scheme to be a big scheme – less expensive and much less in control of other people.

“Do we want big international companies running our energy, or to have people in this country developing that energy in a way they would have more control over it?

“We don’t need nuclear energy. It’s a deceptive option.”

Residents who attended the debate had the chance to ask questions to both panellists.

A show of hands at the end revealed both kinds of energy were equally seen as good options and only a couple of attendees had a change of heart after the debate.

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