Nuclear power will form the heart of the government's energy strategy, the long-awaited energy review has outlined.
Under the plans, Britain's ageing network of nuclear power stations will be replaced and changes to the planning process will make it easier for applications for new power stations and wind farms to get through.
Presenting the review to the Commons, trade and industry secretary Alistair Darling said: "A mix of energy supply remains essential and we should not be over dependent on one source the government has concluded that new nuclear power stations could make a significant contribution to meeting our goals."
Wind, solar and tidal sources will also be promoted under the review as part of the government's aim to have 20 per cent of the UK's electricity coming from renewable sources by 2020.
If the targets are met then carbon emissions could be cut by 2.5 million tonnes per year.
Alan Duncan, the shadow trade and industry secretary, criticised the energy review, describing it as "not carbon free but content free".
"It amounts to almost nothing. Six new consultations, a new forum to be convened, but there are no real policies, no real action," he told MPs.
Although the plans are likely to anger environmental campaigners, the prime minister Tony Blair has stated his intention to include nuclear power in meeting the nation's energy needs.
In an interview with the BBC to be screened this evening Mr Blair said: "With the best will in the world you're not going to fill all the energy need [without nuclear]."
Dr Catherine Mitchell of Warwick Business School, a former member of the government's energy advisory panel, said that she was "deeply disappointed" with the outcome of the energy review.
"At the end of this process we have plumped for a policy that I think will make the whole problem of dealing with climate change and energy security more difficult," she told the Today programme.
A national survey conducted by the Green Party ahead of today's review found that 68 per cent of people were "definitely" against building new nuclear power stations and 63 per cent believed that the government had decided what it wanted to do before the review had been completed.