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Nuclear generators are indispensable

24 September 2008

John Hutton, UK Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, has pledged his maximum support for new nuclear power stations in the UK, at the first meeting of the Government's Nuclear Development Forum. Hutton said that energy from new nuclear generators is absolutely indispensable for keeping the UK's lights on, reducing our dependency on foreign oil and gas, and cutting carbon emissions.

Nuclear generators are indispensable
Nuclear generators are indispensable

The Forum has brought together top figures from across the nuclear industry to support and advise the new Office for Nuclear Development in creating the right conditions for new nuclear power stations to be built in the UK as soon as possible.

During the meeting, Hutton focussed on the huge opportunity for British manufacturers to become part of the UK's new nuclear ambitions. He highlighted the benefits of as much as possible of the predicted £20 billion private sector investment and 100,000 jobs that could be created from new nuclear power stations to be secured for the UK.

But with strong competition from such countries as China - which has plans for 24 nuclear plants and outline proposals for another 76 - a strong British supply chain will be ideally positioned to benefit and provide the valuable equipment and skills necessary.

Hutton said: "I'm determined to press all the buttons to get nuclear built in this country at the earliest opportunity - not only because it's a no-brainer for our energy security, but also because it's good for jobs and our economy.

"Insecure international sources of energy underline the case for a diverse mix. We are determined to get new nuclear up and running as soon as possible - securing clean low carbon energy and helping to keep the UK's lights on.

"But we're facing stiff competition for this investment and for the equipment we'll need to build these power stations which is why I'm determined to ensure Britain remains a competitive environment for nuclear investment.

"I know many manufacturers across the country already have the skills and expertise needed to build power stations - but more needs to be done to create and support a globally competitive UK supply chain, focussing on high value added activities to take advantage of the UK and global nuclear renaissance.
"I'm calling for a spotlight to be put on the opportunities available to our companies from the UK's and the world's nuclear new build programmes, and make sure they take advantage of it. The new Office for Nuclear Development, launched today, will play its part in this, working with the supply chain, vendors and operators to develop capability where gaps are identified."

The new Office for Nuclear Development (OND), part of the Department for Business, is designed to facilitate new nuclear investment in the UK - making the UK the best market in the world for companies to invest in nuclear, as well as advise the Secretary of State on the exercise of his regulatory and policy functions in relation to the nuclear industry.

The Government has published its response to the consultation on the Funded Decommissioning Programme guidance. The new guidance, to be finalised following the Royal Assent of the Energy Bill, reiterates the Government's policy that nuclear operators - not taxpayers - will have to meet the full cost of decommissioning and their full share of waste management and disposal costs. It helps provide a clear UK framework for the new investment and underlines Government's confidence in the private sector to deliver without any taxpayer funding.

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