MPs call on government to prove financial benefits of nuclear in Wales

The UK Government needs to prove nuclear projects are competitive and will provide financial benefits to Wales. That’s according to the Welsh Affairs Committee which is also calling on the government […]

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By Jacqueline Echevarria

The UK Government needs to prove nuclear projects are competitive and will provide financial benefits to Wales.

That’s according to the Welsh Affairs Committee which is also calling on the government to make sure local communities benefit from them as there is a “notable lack of public confidence” following incidents like Japan’s Fukushima.

The Committee’s report follows an inquiry over plans to build new nuclear in North Wales at Wylfa and Trawsfynydd.

The MPs welcome plans to develop Small Modular Reactors (SMR) but the government “must do more to understand the potential cost of any SMR project”.

The Committee believes the Wylfa Newydd plant should only be built if the strike price is below that agreed for the Hinkley Point C and competitive with renewable sources.

They must be transparent on cost and provide a clear and comprehensible explanation of the lifetime cost of the project, including decommissioning and waste disposal, it adds.

Furthermore, the Committee states a new decommissioning plan for the plant at Trawsfynydd should be considered and the government must accelerate the process to identify a site to store waste safely and securely.

It also recommends Trawsfynydd should be designated as a site for a first of its kind SMR.

Committee Chair David TC Davies said: “We know that proposals for new nuclear power plants cause concern amongst the general public.

“The government must prove that the cost of any nuclear development is well understood and competitive with renewable sources. These costs must be made public in a format that can be easily understood. There has to be a demonstrable benefit for the local community as well. Local businesses must form a key part of the supply-chain and be given sufficient information to allow this to happen.”

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said new nuclear power stations will provide “secure, clean and affordable electricity for consumers across the country”.

A spokesperson adds: “We are constantly working to get the best deal for consumers and any proposals for new sites, including Wylfa, will need to offer value for money for the taxpayer.

“We expect local communities to see substantial benefits from investment in new nuclear. It’s estimated that the local North Wales economy around the proposed Wylfa site will benefit from around £50 million and hundreds of jobs.”

According to new figures released by DECC, the estimated cost of the Hinkley Point C project over its lifetime could reach £37 billion.