2 May (NucNet): The UK’s civil nuclear sector has been blighted by the indecision of successive governments and with an election in June 2017 it is critical for the new government to set out a decisive future for this industry, a House of Lords report says.
The science and technology select committee report, published on 2 May 2017, also sets out the risks to the UK nuclear sector if membership to Euratom expires at the end of the two-year Brexit negotiating period without a replacement.
The UK risks losing its lead in fusion research as well as losing access to the markets and skills it needs to construct new nuclear power plants and existing power plants could be unable to acquire fuel, the report says.
The report notes that despite the additional £250m (€295m, $322m) over five years promised by the government in 2015, the amount of UK funding for nuclear research, development and innovation is much lower than public funding levels in other leading nuclear nations, including the US, France and Japan.
The report concludes: “Civil nuclear is a long-term industry where changes in direction in successive governments’ policies and periods of lack of clarity have had a detrimental effect on the development of the industry, particularly in respect of civil nuclear generation over the last 20 years.
The government has highlighted the importance of the nuclear sector . . . and must develop a clear, long-term vision and set of goals for civil nuclear strategy.”
The report,’ Nuclear research and technology: Breaking the cycle of indecision’, is online: http://bit.ly/2p1hDQz