18 October 2008 – The UK has pledged maximum support for new nuclear power stations at the first meeting of the Government’s new Nuclear Development Forum.
Business and Enterprise Secretary John Hutton said that energy from new nuclear generators is absolutely indispensable for keeping the UK’s lights on, reducing dependency on foreign oil and gas, and cutting carbon emissions.
The Forum brings together top figures from across the nuclear industry to support and advise the new Office for Nuclear Development in creating the right conditions for new nuclear power stations to be built in the UK as soon as possible.
During the meeting, Mr Hutton focused on the huge opportunity for British manufacturers to become part of the UK’s new nuclear ambitions Hutton highlighted the benefits of as much as possible of the predicted £20bn ($36.4bn) private sector investment and 100 000 jobs that could be created from new nuclear power stations to be secured for the UK.
But with strong competition from such countries as China – which has plans for 24 nuclear plants and outline proposals for another 76 – a strong British supply chain will be ideally positioned to benefit and provide the valuable equipment and skills necessary.
Mr Hutton said: “I’m determined to press all the buttons to get nuclear built in this country at the earliest opportunity – not only because it’s a no-brainer for our energy security, but also because it’s good for jobs and our economy.
“Insecure international sources of energy underline the case for a diverse mix. We are determined to get new nuclear up and running as soon as possible – securing clean low carbon energy and helping to keep the UK’s lights on.
“But we’re facing stiff competition for this investment and for the equipment we’ll need to build these power stations which is why I’m determined to ensure Britain remains a competitive environment for nuclear investment.
“I know many manufacturers across the country already have the skills and expertise needed to build power stations – but more needs to be done to create and support a globally competitive UK supply chain, focussing on high value added activities to take advantage of the UK and global nuclear renaissance.
“I’m calling for a spotlight to be put on the opportunities available to our companies from the UK’s and the world’s nuclear new build programmes, and make sure they take advantage of it.
“The new Office for Nuclear Development, launched today, will play its part in this, working with the supply chain, vendors and operators to develop capability where gaps are identified.”