‘No public subsidies for nuclear power’
Urgent talks between coalition and industry
URGENT talks are to take place between the new coalition government and the power generating industry over the financing of a second generation of nuclear power plants at Sizewell and Bradwell-on-Sea.
The new Energy Secretary Chris Huhne made it clear yesterday that there would be no public subsidies available for the building of reactors as ministers proceed with plans for a low-carbon economy.
He said power companies needed to decide whether they could finance the plants.
“If they come up with a plan that genuinely involves no public subsidy and that’s the agreement of the coalition Government, then they will put it through the planning process under a new national planning statement and the proposal will go forward in the normal way.
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“So if there’s a majority in Parliament in favour of a particular proposal - and there are an awful lot of ‘ifs’ here – then new nuclear will go ahead.’’
The previous Labour government supported a nuclear future for the UK and earmarked Sizewell and Bradwell as suitable sites.
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Nuclear power was one of the key areas of disagreement between the Conservatives, who support their construction, and the Liberal Democrats, who are opposed to the reliance on the next generation of reactors.
The coalition deal means that Lib Dems will not vote against plans in parliament.
Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy. welcomed the coalition agreement which said the new Government “agreed a process to bring forward the national policy statement ‘for ratification by Parliament so that new nuclear construction becomes possible.”
Mr de Rivaz said: “We believe nuclear power is the most affordable low-carbon option and can be built in the UK without subsidy. It is a vital element in keeping energy prices affordable while tackling climate change.
“We have also completed consultation on our initial proposals at Hinkley Point in Somerset and continue to make progress on our plans to build two reactors there. We plan to build two further reactors at Sizewell.
“As an investor in long-term assets, we are pleased that there is broad public and political support for new nuclear power as part of the mix.”
Ben Gummer, Conservative MP for Ipswich, said it was essential to speed up the process which would allow nuclear stations to be built.
He added: “There is real determination on our side to get the policy through parliament.”