Union calls for nuclear industry to be sustained


Union calls for nuclear industry to be sustained

Prospect has called on the government to remove unfair economic barriers and keep the UK’s nuclear power option open. This will enable more power stations to be built.

  • 14 Feb 2002

Commenting on the government’s energy review, produced on 14 February by the Performance and Innovation Unit (PIU), the union has welcomed the 50 year vision taken by the report and strongly believes that the best way to counter uncertainty about the future energy supply is to maintain the balance and diversity of the fuels used.

On behalf of 19,000 engineers, scientists and managers in electricity supply, R&D and the wider energy industry, Prospect called for more research and development across all energy sectors.

But, it adds, given the length of time needed for new nuclear build and the ongoing seepage of expertise from the industry, support is needed now to ensure nuclear power remains a competitive and viable option.

This requires an even-handed approach to valuing carbon through a carbon tax instead of the climate charge levy. In addition, investment in renewable energy provision is vital if the UK is to regain its ability to compete in the growing world market for environmental technologies.

Tony Cooper, Prospect joint general secretary and member of the PIU Energy Project Advisory Group, said: "Higher public funding for energy research and development is essential if appropriate technologies for sustainable and secure energy sources are to be discovered, tested and developed.

"But support must be given on an even-handed basis and should not discriminate between fuel sources. The government should not fall prey to the temptation to pick winners."

The union also welcomed the new Renewables Obligation put before Parliament on 13 February, which set a government target of providing 10% of electricity from renewable sources by 2010. However Prospect warned that targets would be met with cynicism unless backed by effective delivery mechanisms.