The Treasury’s ‘Response to the National Infrastructure Assessment’, which was released in November, rejected the advice of the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) two years earlier that the government should not provide support for more than one nuclear power station beyond Hinkley Point C (HPC) before 2025. Since the NIC assessment, the UK has set a target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 against a backdrop of an expected doubling of electricity demand in the same period. These factors prompted the government to state “it is important to maintain options by pursuing additional large-scale nuclear projects, subject to clear value for money for both consumers and taxpayers and all relevant approvals.” Those within the British nuclear industry consider the turn around by the British government as a positive, if initial, move. “It is a good start. Nuclear is essential to supporting achieving the targets of net-zero and it is undeniably required if we are to enable a clean energy system … The commitment in the 10-point plan is the first steppingstone to getting this target achieved,” says Mike Drury, Account Director Newbuild and Advanced Nuclear Technology at the UK National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL). The government is poised to release two further papers which should help to clear up its intentions for the industry; an energy white paper, which is expected before the end of the year, and an outstanding consultation on financing and the regulated asset base (RAB).
Reuters 8th Dec 2020 read more »