Select Committee on Trade and Industry Written Evidence


First supplementary memorandum by the Nuclear Industry Association

  Thank you for giving us the opportunity to present oral evidence to the Committee. During the session the Committee asked us for some supplementary evidence which I am now enclosing.

  As we said, when we appeared in front of you, the nuclear industry is not looking for any government subsidies or guaranteed minimum prices. We are confident that new nuclear stations can be competitive with any form of electricity generation and that the private sector can finance and build them.

  In order to facilitate this the Government does need to set out a clear energy policy which indicates its support for new nuclear build in order to give the financial markets confidence in government intentions. It also needs to unequivocally commit to ensuring that there is a long term cost in the market for carbon emissions as this is the most efficient way to make serious inroads into our carbon emissions. This could be done in a variety of ways, for example through emissions trading such as the current EU scheme (although this scheme needs to set out its carbon cap levels over a much longer period in order to achieve its objectives) or through carbon taxation or a combination of the two. A long term market for carbon would allow companies to make rational investment decisions and would further incentivise development of renewables, carbon capture and sequestration as well as nuclear.

  We would also like to see reform of the planning and licensing system. One of the main reasons why planning enquiries into major infrastructure project often take many years is that they repeatedly examine national policy issues within the local enquiry. This process is inefficient and causes costs and delays while adding nothing to public scrutiny. In our view national energy policy should be debated at a national level rather than in the context of a local enquiry. Similarly the licensing of generic reactor types should be undertaken at a national level by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate and consultation on this should be undertaken at a national level. The local enquiry would then be left to deal with genuinely local issues such as siting, appearance and the layout and safety of reactor systems that vary according to local conditions (sea water cooling systems for instance). Such a reform of the planning process would be of benefit to all infrastructure projects rather than just being nuclear specific.

  We have enclosed copies of our studies into the UK supply chain's capability to construct reactor systems in the UK which show that UK industry can construct up to 70% of a new pressurised water reactor now rising to 80% with investment. [112]Also enclosed is a list of the range of university based courses for training the future workforce for the industry[113] as there was some interest in knowing what was being done to maintain our skills base.

Chief Executive

Nuclear Industry Association

9 June 2006

112   Not printed. Back

113   Appendix 40. Back

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