Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Britain to become 'serious nuclear nation again'

Energy minister Charles Hendry has reiterated the government’s support for new nuclear be saying he wants Britain to be a “serious nuclear nation again”.

Hendry said the UK has the ambition to be the “number one destination” for nuclear power station builders and investors and the government is working towards achieving that.

“We need a message to go out to the world that the UK is open for business,” said Hendry, speaking at this week’s Nuclear Industry Association’s Nuclear New Build conference 2011 yesterday.

The government hopes to make the UK much more attractive for new nuclear through its energy market reforms. This includes setting a carbon price and a contract for difference which is intended to give investor confidence.

Details of the new proposals will be presented in a white paper due to go before Parliament before summer recess on 19 July.

“Make no doubt about the government’s commitment to new nuclear,” Hendry added.

Hendry said government is determined to learn lessons from Fukushima but nuclear has a strong safety record in the UK.

Hendry also warned if the UK followed the decision made Germany, Austria and Switzerland to scrap nuclear it could cost consumers up to £65bn.

EdF chief executive office Vincent de Rivaz said that Britain has displayed “strong leadership” since the Fukushima disaster by avoiding any knee-jerk reactions.

Readers' comments (3)

  • It does seem that we are being told that the UK intends to be a major consumer of nuclear generated electricity. What of all the technical expertise behind the power stations? Are we to simply buy products from overseas companies or, at least attempt to regain the technical lead relinquished in the 1970s? UK was first with Calder Hall, followed by Chapel Cross, Berkeley, Wylfa, Hinkley Point and Hunterston A. These were followed by the advanced gas-cooled reractor programme at many of these locations. In the meantime, the fast reactor experiment at Dounreay went ahead and was generally successful, producing much useful information for this type of installation. After that, the typical UK withdrawal from the competition. Is all of the underlying invetsment and hard won expertise to be lost to France, the USA and, possibly, Canada, or can the UK be revived again?

    On another note, it is important that the same pattern is not repeated in the renewable energy fields. Wind is already lost to Denmark, Germany, Spain, Sweden and other more enlightened countries that back innovative engineering R & D with hard cash. The Institution must throw its weight behind the emerging technologies involved in wave, sub-sea and tidal energy generation to promote UK .engineering in all its glory. Otherwise, where falls the status that we aspire to and the future of engineering in this country?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Please do not compare Wind Farms with Nuclear Power. Wind Farms are grossly inefficient, ridiculously over-expensive and ineffective power generation systems, for both power generation and CO2 emission reduction - ferociously promoted by the Greens and their supporters. Nuclear power, in contrast, is extremely efficient, relatively inexpensive given built in easier de-commissioning and reduced nuclear waste with easier handling, and very efficient and effective in generating power and reducing CO" emissions - but ferociously opposed by the Greens and their predecessors in CND an action now shown to be a totally irreponsible and unnecessary action and one which effectively destroyed the UK Nuclear Industry.

    Let us re-build our Nuclear capability but simply wave bye bye to Wind Farms - the Scandinavians can have and keep them - they at least have the parallel Hydropower capacity and further potential for additional capacityto make from better and more efficient use of the so called free wind power!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Yes - I agree you should not compare nuclear with wind...

    Decommissioning of a nuclear plant easier than a wind farm? Not sure where to start with that one...

    As for waste handling: UK does not have a high-level waste capability yet so where do you propose to store the waste? Not much waste from a wind farm...

    The Nuclear industry only survives by the huge subsidies given by the government, which is also paying for all the decommissioning costs of the current generation of plant. Yes there are subsidies for renewables but these will reduce once the costs fall, with volume.

    If we look at the Finnish plant being built by Areva at Olkiluoto, which is currently 3+yrs behind shedule and 50%+ overbudget, why would we rush into another generation of nuclear with its inherent issues?

    Germany has made the right decision...

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.