Foster says it would be wrong to rule out nuclear power


The enterprise minister told MLAs it would be wrong to rule out nuclear power as a potential source of power for Northern Ireland, on 19 March 2013.

Arlene Foster was replying to a question from her DUP colleague Stephen Moutray.

"I do believe it is wrong to rule anything out of the equation - of course nuclear energy is a reserved matter," she commented.

Anna Lo of the Alliance Party asked what steps Mrs Foster had taken to develop a long-term vision for renewable energy to 2050 and beyond.

The minister said it was difficult to plan farther ahead than 2020, adding that it was important to factor in changes of technology when considering longer-term energy plans.

The SDLP's Karen McKevitt raised the problem of horse and pig DNA found in processed beef products.

Mrs Foster sought to reassure the Assembly about the action she was taking with her ministerial colleagues.

"Our food that is produced here in Northern Ireland is of stellar quality," she added.

A Department of Regional Development experiment had shown that part-time 20 mph speed limits near schools could be a useful way of improving road safety, the DRD minister told members.

Danny Kennedy indicated that the success of the experiment, conducted at three primary schools, meant that part-time speed limits would be included in a new road safety policy.

The SDLP's Conall McDevitt called for 20 mph limits in residential areas as well as schools.

The minister said it was not the case that he needed to be convinced of the argument but there was a problem with the enforcement of speed limits.

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson answered questions on a range of matters, including the location of civil service jobs, the Review of Public Administration, and funding for the Desertcreat police and fire training college.

Health Minister Edwin Poots was asked about the actions being taken to highlight the risks associated with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

The minister outlined some of the precautions that should be taken. These included letting the baby sleep in a cot in the parents' room in the "feet-to-foot" position.

Mr Poots said the figures for cot death had dropped from 56 babies in 1990 to five in 2012.

Conall McDevitt of the SDLP asked when the minister would publish guidelines on the termination of pregnancies.

Mr Poots said he hoped to publish the guidelines in the autumn.

Assembly members also approved regulations related to shipbuilding.

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