JUST BUILDING more nuclear power stations is not the route to energy security the House of Commons Trade & Industry Committee said this week.
In its report into the issues surrounding new nuclear power construction in the UK the committee concludes that 'in determining its policy on the future of nuclear energy, there are a number of issues that the Government needs to address.' The report New nuclear?
Examining the issues adds 'most of the technical objections to nuclear power, such as the availability of fuel and the carbon profile of nuclear power stations, have answers.
'Political issues, such as security and proliferation, are matters of judgement.' Importantly the committee says that only expanding nuclear power capacity is not the solution to energy security.
'We do not believe that the way to energy security is for the Government to fix the proportion of the energy mix that should come from particular technologies.' ICE energy board chairman, David Kerr said the statement 'reflected the free energy market that exists in the UK, the key question is 'how does the market achieve a mix?'' The report says the government should ensure a competitive environment for existing technologies, while supporting innovation in new ones.
Kerr said it was possible for new nuclear build to be classed as innovation, so claiming additional fiancial support, while gas and coal remain at the whim of market forces. The committee says new nuclear must satisfy four conditions:
A broad national consensus on the role of nuclear power, that has crossfiparty political support and wider public backing;
A carbonfipricing framework that provides longfiterm incentives for investment in all low carbon technologies;
A longfiterm storage solution for the UK's existing radioactive waste legacy;
A review of the planning and licensing system to reduce the lead time for construction.