27 Apr (NucNet): A House of Commons committee is to hold an inquiry into the possibility of new nuclear build in the UK and whether or not the tentative 2019 target date for the first of a new generation of reactors can be met, it has been announced.
The energy and climate change committee, which will hear evidence on 15 May 2012, will investigate the feasibility of delivering on the UK’s nuclear timetable and the potential barriers to delivering build.
The evidence will come from Volker Beckers, group chief executive officer of RWE Npower; Tony Cocker, chief executive of EON UK; and Charles Hendry, minister of state for energy and climate change.
In a statement the committee said: “The committee is aware of the significance of the electricity market reform process in determining the viability of investment in new nuclear power stations and does not intend to focus on this aspect in this inquiry.”
The statement pointed out that all but one of the UK’s existing nuclear plants are scheduled to close within the next 11 years if their lifetimes are not extended.
The government’s timeline for the first of a new generation of nuclear power plants is for it to be built by 2019. Industry had set out plans to develop up to 16 gigawatts of nuclear power in the UK by 2025, but this outcome may now be in question following RWE Npower and E.ON’s recent decision to withdraw from new nuclear investment.
The committee called for written evidence addressing questions such as which factors contribute to investment decisions in new nuclear, what lessons can be learned from new build in France and Finland, and what have been the political and policy impacts of the Fukushima-Daiichi accident.
The deadline for the submission of written evidence is Monday 2 July 2012.
Details and notes on submitting evidence are online: