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WHITTINGDALE John

As the new Government settles into power, so the backbenches are going through the process of shaking out into groups of shared interests, picking topics on which to press ministers and so on. Given the existing controversies over infrastructure, and Downing Street’s new focus on industrial strategy, these seem set to be two of the key areas.

Right on cue, I’ve just received a group letter from 19 MPs on the topic of nuclear power – notably the signatories include John Whittingdale, newly returned to the backbenches in the reshuffle:

Last month’s EU referendum result has not altered the importance of the UK’s new nuclear programme. This new generation capacity is crucial for securing the UK’s future energy supplies, for helping reduce dependence on imports, and for mitigating against fluctuating fuel prices. Nuclear will also play a significant role in meeting our domestic energy targets, and the global climate ambitions we signed up to last year.

With 35 per cent of our current generating capacity closing by 2030, the UK needs to build 60GW of new electricity generating capacity and associated infrastructure over the next ten years. Since 2010, the UK has reduced its power generation capacity by 20 per cent. This needs to be replaced urgently by new stations, including low carbon baseload nuclear power.

Members of Parliament on both sides of the EU debate want to see the new nuclear stations built, not only because of their energy security and climate change benefits, but also the boost their construction will provide to the UK. The nuclear new build programme will be a major engine for economic growth.

The nuclear industry currently employs around 65,000 people. The new build projects being delivered by EDF Energy, Horizon Nuclear Power and NuGeneration Ltd, will bring thousands of additional highly skilled jobs within engineering, research and development and construction, to all areas of the UK. The longevity of the programmes, means these jobs will provide long term stability for years into the future.

The nuclear new build programme will also offer companies across the country an opportunity to become part of the multi-billion pound UK nuclear supply chain. This will increase the capability of UK businesses, allowing them to build on their existing achievements and the opportunity to become part of an international supply chain. Export potential could be huge, as the international nuclear market continues to grow at an increasingly rapid rate, both within new build and decommissioning.

The nuclear industry will, of course, look to work with policymakers in the UK and the EU to understand the implications of the referendum result, but the bottom line is the UK’s requirement for secure and affordable low carbon electricity has not changed. Nuclear new build will play a key role in meeting this vital national objective and it is important that industry and Government continue to work closely together to bring this to fruition.

Signatures

Peter Aldous MP
Bob Blackman MP
Damian Collins MP
Chris Davies MP
David TC Davies MP
Glyn Davies MP
Dr James Davies MP
Graham Evans MP
Marcus Fysh MP
Ian Liddell Grainger MP
Chris Green MP
James Heappey MP
David Morris MP
Dr Daniel Poulter MP
Rebecca Pow MP
Antoinette Sandbach MP
John Stevenson MP
Kelly Tolhurst MP
John Whittingdale MP

57 comments for: Whittingdale and 18 others call for new nuclear power stations

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