UK Business and Industry minister Richard Harrington has outlined his support for nuclear power to fill the gaps of renewable energy, despite the rising costs of building next generation plants.
Speaking at the Conservative party conference last week, Harrington said: “I still believe the whole base case with nuclear power that we do need this base of power production.”
The remarks have significantly developed from previous comments he has made, when he said: “do we have it, do we not.”
However, the MP did accept that the vast costs of nuclear power plants do need to be reduced as they are currently only being paid by national governments.
“The second thing is the reduction in the actual cost of it; the cost of producing the reactors. Some of that will be because of change in technology… Some of it will be if there’s a consistency of supply i.e. it’s not just building a one-off, I’m sure that the basics of any form of business, that will lead to lower construction costs and therefore lower strike prices”.
The UK is in the process of introducing two next generation nuclear power plants to its energy mix, Hinkley Point and Flamanville – both of which have been surrounded by controversy over delays and running over budget.
While UK taxpayers are forced to folk out billions of pounds to fulfil the government’s nuclear dreams, countries around the world are working to remove nuclear from their energy mixes, including France which has recently accelerated its shift away from the power source due to growing concerns over its fleet.