MPs go nuclear over failure to plan ahead

Marion Dakers
THE GOVERNMENT’S nuclear power targets are “overly reliant on aspiration and hope” with a worrying lack of contingency planning, the energy and climate change select committee warned today.

All but one of the UK’s existing atomic power stations is due to close by 2023, and experts think the coalition’s aim to generate 16 gigawatts of power from nuclear by 2025 is “ambitious at best and unrealistic at worst”, the panel of MPs said in a report.

The target has been thrown into doubt after several firms including Centrica pulled out of building nuclear plants in the UK amid uncertainty over funding.

And missing this goal could increase dependence on gas, putting carbon targets in jeopardy and raising household bills, the committee said.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change must draft a plan B “as a matter of urgency” while working with companies to try and smooth out details on costs, wholesale prices and other incentives.

Energy minister John Hayes insisted the coalition’s work on price guarantees and energy market reform will encourage firms to invest in nuclear.