THE CONSUMPTION of nuclear energy within the European Union (EU) increased by 0.7 per cent in 2002, compared with 2001, according to the latest comparative figures released by EU statistical agency Eurostat. There was also an identical rise in nuclear energy production, with France continuing to be the largest producer, increasing its output buy 4.2 per cent. The figures compare favourably with the record for hard coal power consumption, which fell by 8.1 per cent across the EU and natural gas, down 1.2 per cent.

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