The government is said to have spent more than £8,000 this year on meetings with a pro-nuclear group.
The meetings with the Nuclear Development Forum are said to have taken place outside of government offices. The first, costing £3,910, was in March with then-Energy Secretary Ed Miliband, the second with his successor Chris Huhne in July at a cost of £2,820 and the third with Energy Minister Charles Hendry last month, with a bill of £1,416.
The NDF is a government organisation set up to “secure the long-term future of nuclear power generation in the UK”. Its renewable energy equivalent, the Renewables Advisory Board, was abolished last month in the cull of the quangos.
The tab for all three meetings was picked by the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the costs came to light following a Freedom of Information request made by an anti-nuclear campaigner.
DECC has defended the costs and rejected claims that it is giving nuclear power preferential treatment.
However, Mike Childs, head of climate campaigns for Friends of the Earth, told The Guardian newspaper the government must “come clean about all the money spent on assisting nuclear”. He said: “It’s important ministers come clean about who they are meeting, when they are meeting, and the issues they are discussing.”