UK government needs a nuclear plan B, says Tim Yeo

Hinkley Point delays mean projects such as Bradwell in Essex should be fast-tracked, says former energy select committee chair

Ministers need to talk to the Chinese about fast-tracking the planned reactor at Bradwell in Essex because the future of the £18bn Hinkley Point project is so uncertain, according to a leading pro-nuclear campaigner.

Tim Yeo, a former chair of the energy and climate change committee, said the government should also consider whether the Russian state operator, Rosatom, or the British state could build new atomic plants.

The Hinkley project in Somerset has been hit by a series of delays, with its developer, EDF, recently postponing a final investment decision until September.

Yeo said continuing opposition from EDF unions to spending huge sums of money in Britain and political uncertainty ahead of the French elections next spring could hold up the project further.

 “There is a risk of further delays at Hinkley and, because of that, Decc (the Department of Energy and Climate Change) should have a plan B.

“If another two to three years had passed before progress had been made [at Hinkley], it would have an impact on our ability to meet carbon targets and on our energy security,” said Yeo, who is the chairman of pressure group (New Nuclear Europe)

“The Great British public is cautious and the unions sceptical of China, but if there was a UK/EU-based group involving say, Rolls Royce, it might reduce concern about where the technology came from,” he said.

Yeo said the Korean nuclear developer Kepco had built a range of reactors on time and on budget. It signed a contract in the UAE in 2010 and will deliver it on time next year. “What have we done (in the UK) over those seven years apart from talk?” he asked.

(The Guardian)

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