We need to move quickly if Britain is to regain its leadership role in the nuclear power industry
Over the next 20 years it is estimated that £930bn will be spent globally on building new nuclear reactors. We should aim to win a large slice of that business.
As unlikely as it sounds, 2013 might be remembered as the year when this country actually did something about its energy problem. These islands may be blessed with reserves of oil, gas, wind and hydro but they are not enough to stop future power blackouts.
In October, the Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, struck a deal to build the first new nuclear power station in Britain since 1995. That project, at Hinkley Point in Somerset, was swiftly followed by last week’s announcement that the Government had agreed to underwrite plans for a new reactor at Wyfla in north Wales.
It could be the start of a new nuclear fleet, which is good news for anyone who is worried about Britain’s energy future. But it’s just the start of the change we need.
When he made the Hinkley announcement, Mr Davey said that the construction phase would create 25,000 jobs and a further 900 people would be needed to operate the facility. Wyfla is predicted to sustain 6,000 jobs as it is built, with a further 1,000 employed on a day-to-day basis.
But there was something missing from both announcements. It was a vision of how Britain’s manufacturing industry will benefit from this new generation of nuclear power.
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