Select Committee on Trade and Industry Written Evidence


Memorandum by UKAEA

  1.  The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) is a non-departmental public body, which for a number of years has carried out two main tasks for government:

    —  The decommissioning and clean-up of our former nuclear research sites at Harwell, Windscale, Dounreay and Winfrith.

    —  Fusion research, including the operation of the international JET facility, carried out at Culham in Oxfordshire.

  2.  This note sets out the basis of the evidence which we intend to submit to the Government's Energy Review.

  3.  We believe that fusion has the potential to provide a safe, clean, secure and plentiful source of baseload power. Annex 1 outlines the key advantages of fusion power, and explains the international research programme now being undertaken with the goal of developing electricity generation on a commercial scale.

  4.  On the question of new nuclear build, we believe that all options should be considered on an equal footing to identify a diverse mix of energy technologies which can provide security of supply and minimise environmental impact, in particular greenhouse gas emissions. For new nuclear capacity to be part of this mix, we need to demonstrate that former facilities can be successfully decommissioned and to design decommissioning into new stations from the start.

  5.  UKAEA is able and willing to provide expert advice to government as well as private consortia who wish to build and own and/or operate new nuclear generating stations. UKAEA's core competence in planning, regulatory frameworks, decommissioning and waste minimisation will be essential to ensure that future build benefits from the lessons learned from the past. Annex 2 to this note summarises the issues.

17 March 2006

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