New Nuclear Watch Europe reiterates calls for public financing of nuclear projects

New Nuclear Watch Europe has urged all political parties in Britain to adopt a list of seven energy policy “must-haves” ahead of the upcoming general election.   

They include commitments to provide public loans for new nuclear projects and remain a member of Euratom post-Brexit.

“Without nuclear, the only reliable source of low carbon energy, in the energy mix the UK’s climate change commitments simply cannot be met,” said New Nuclear Watch Europe (NNWE) chairman, Tim Yeo.

“Investor confidence in the UK has been unsettled by Brexit. Investors need to be reassured that energy policy will not be subject to sudden change”.

Yeo said the manifesto pledges could be delivered safely, swiftly and without the need for “any taxpayers’ money or new legislation”.

NNWE called on political parties to:

  • Continue to implement the Climate Change Act 2008 in full.
  • Maintain nuclear as an “essential and large” part of the UK’s energy mix.
  • “Use the UK’s credit rating to cut the cost of electricity for consumers” by providing public loans for new nuclear projects.
  • Encourage foreign investment in energy infrastructure while “protecting vital national interests”.
  • Enshrine the right of all EU citizens to work throughout the energy industry and “study, research and teach” in UK universities.
  • Ensure Britain remains a member of Euratom.
  • “Actively promote” co-operation with pro-nuclear nations from the EU and the surrounding area.

“Government loans to developers won’t cost the taxpayer a penny and nether will they constitute a subsidy as the loans will be repaid in full,” said Yeo. “What it does is allow developers to gain access to the preferable borrowing rates that government enjoys.”

NNWE said nuclear vendors from China, South Korea and Russia, with the “most competitive” technologies, should be encouraged to enter the UK power market. “In cases of foreign investment, rules on shareholding, operational control and so on are used to good effect elsewhere and there is no reason why they would not work in the UK,” added Yeo.

As well as demanding that the incoming government reverse the decision to leave Euratom post-Brexit, the former energy minister also urged the creation of “a pro-nuclear club of countries comprising EU member states and neighbouring countries” known as the Organisation for Nuclear Cooperation in Europe.

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