A nuclear revival could boost the UK economy by £5 billion a year, according to new research commissioned by EDF Energy.
The French supplier is currently the front runner for new nuclear power in Britain, with plans for four new UK plants including Hinkley Point C in the south west of England. It is yet to make the final decision on whether it goes ahead with plans for at least four new nuclear plants.
Figures from think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research suggest rebuilding new nuclear energy capacity in the UK could create more than 32,000 additional jobs and boost annual exports. Broken down, this covers 22,000 direct jobs and 10,000 indirect jobs.
The research by IPPR shows that if nuclear power met all the additional capacity needed, the result would be a boost to UK GDP of up to 0.34 per cent a year and an annual economic gain of £5.1 billion.
Mark Prisk, Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills said: “This research… demonstrates the compelling business case for investing in the UK’s energy infrastructure. This much-needed investment could create significant numbers of jobs for years to come as well as increase UK export potential.”
However critics say the economic benefit of nuclear power will be totally cancelled out by the Government subsidy given to nuclear.
Crispin Aubrey at the Stop Hinkley campaign group told ELN: “It’s very interesting the figure they give is £5 billion. That’s if nuclear power meets all the additional capacity we need – that’s a lot more than Hinkley Point C and Sizewell B which are planned at the moment.”
He pointed to a recent review of the Energy Bill by economist and nuclear sceptic Tom Burke, which found subsidies for nuclear in the Contracts for Difference (CfdD) will be £155 billion over the next 30 years. This worked out as an extra £5.2 billion a year to electricity prices.
Mr Aubrey added: “Any economic benefit will be cancelled out by the subsidies.”