BURY has confirmed its anti-nuclear stance and will send that message to the Prime Minister.

Councillors say that nuclear power is expensive and risky, and money should be spent on renewable energy rather than on new power stations.

They confirmed the council's affiliation to the Nuclear Free Local Authorities campaign (NFLAs), and urged others to follow suit.

However, members backed off from opposing nuclear in all circumstances, saying atomic power may be a last resort to save the planet from global warming.

Lib Dem councillor Vic D'Albert said: "I was alarmed by the Prime Minister's statement that nuclear power is back on the agenda with a vengeance, and is seen by some as the solution to our energy needs and problems. We should send a clear message to the PM that sustainable energy from renewal resources is top of our agenda."

He cited disasters like Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, saying we lived in dangerous times.

"What kind of international lead are we offering by developing more nuclear power stations?" he told last week's council meeting. "Nuclear power is the biggest and most expensive white elephant on the planet. And yet the Government is offering incentives to councils to volunteer to have a nuclear waste site, which is utterly grotesque."

Labour councillor Derek Boden agreed with the majority of this, but said: "If global warming is the biggest challenge we face, we cannot rule out nuclear energy.

"We may have to resort to it if we fail to match our words with actions."

His colleague, Coun Gill Campbell, added: "With CO2 emissions, we will get to the point of no return very soon. There needs to be a fundamental shift in the way we live our lives and in our infrastructure."

The Tories, however, voted against the motion.

Coun Roger Brown said the real problem was finding suitable alternatives. "With windmills and solar panels, the amount of energy they generate and the cost of installing them is uneconomic.

"A country like France generates nearly all its energy from nuclear. It's the only clear way to produce the vast quantity of electricity we will need. We cannot rely on North Sea oil or gas, or carting it from Russia."

And he said: "To cling to NFLAs is the fag end of what people were trying to do 20 or 30 years ago concerning nuclear disarmament.

"It's a waste of energy and time."