Martin Whitfield MSP has welcomed a new plan for major investment in new nuclear power stations to cut emissions and to preserve the UK’s world-class nuclear skills base, of which East Lothian is a leading component.
The plan, Net Zero Needs Nuclear: A Roadmap to 2024 by the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Nuclear Energy, sets out the decisions the Government must take by 2024 to restore UK nuclear capacity to at least 10 GW by the early 2030s.
The APPG has called for the Government to create a new nuclear financing model this year, approve two large-scale nuclear projects by 2024, and establish the framework for deploying new Small Modular Reactors (AMRs) across the UK, among other steps.
These investments would save around 30 million tonnes of emission per year by 2035 and create more than 90,000 jobs in the UK. Nuclear jobs are already among the most skilled and well-paid in the country, with an average GVA per worker of almost £100,000.
The nuclear industry, however, needs urgent action to seize these opportunities and save jobs. Most of the Britain’s current nuclear power stations will go offline in less than three years, so capabilities in fuel manufacturing, engineering, and in the supply chain will be lost without new investment.
The UK will also have to depend on expensive, polluting fossil fuels and imports from Europe without the always-on power provided by from nuclear stations. Torness power station is one of the few existing UK plants which currently has an operational lifespan beyond 2024.
Martin Whitfield MSP said:
“I welcome this new Roadmap to 2024. Nuclear energy is absolutely essential for our economic prosperity and for meeting our climate goals and this report is an important contribution to the debate on its future in the UK.
“Here in the South Scotland region, the industry employs around 1100 people, with more than 750 of those in East Lothian. With the new investment set out in the Roadmap, we can make the most of the nuclear energy expertise in this region and secure jobs and cut carbon for generations to come.”
Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said:
“Only nuclear can replace nuclear. With urgent action from Government, the industry is ready, willing and able to provide firm power capacity, through large and small reactors designs, to cut emissions and create good jobs across this country.
“Nuclear technologies alone can produce always-on, low-carbon power, and options for clean heat and hydrogen going forward. With most of our fleet retiring, we need urgent investment in large and small scale nuclear projects to realise the promise of a net zero future.”
The full report can be found at www.niauk.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Net-Zero-Needs-Nuclear-%E2%80%93-A-Roadmap-to-2024-1.pdf