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Sizewell B

Volume 175: debated on Tuesday 3 July 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he expects to ask the chairman of Nuclear Electric to carry out a further review of the progress on the Sizewell B nuclear power station in 1991.

Nuclear Electric will continue to review regularly progress at Sizewell B.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what assessment he has made of the need for new electricity generating capacity requiring to be completed in England and Wales in the 1990–1998 period (a) assuming the completion of Sizewell B nuclear power station and (b) assuming that it is not completed; and if he will make a statement.

The need for new capacity by 1998 is uncertain and will depend upon a number of factors including the future demand for electricity and commercial judgments on the economic life of existing plant. These are matters for the industry.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will exempt public electricity suppliers from paying the non-fossil fuel levy in respect of all the costs of Sizewell B nuclear power station incurred after his letter to the hon. Member for Rochford (Dr. Clark) of 26 June.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what estimates were made of the level of the non-fossil fuel levy in 1994, 1995 and 1996 in the event of the cancellation of Sizewell B nuclear power station.

The effect on the fossil fuel levy of the cancellation of Sizewell B would depend on the closure dates and performance of Nuclear Electric's other stations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what independent financial advice he took on the comparison between the economics of combined cycle gas turbine stations and the completion of Sizewell B described in his letter of 26 June to the hon. Member for Rochford (Dr. Clark).

My Department undertook the analysis using the best available information.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy (1) what comparisons he has made of the costs and benefits of expenditure on (a) Sizewell B nuclear power station and (b) research and development on the UKAEA safe integral reactor and other advanced nuclear power station designs;(2) what assessment he has made of the impact on the environment of expenditure of £990 million on

(a) Sizewell B nuclear power station and (b) energy efficiency and conservation.

The assessment of the case for continuing with the construction of Sizewell B concentrated on economic grounds, although it also took into account environmental and other considerations. We perceive a need for new generating capacity in the mid-1990s, taking into account the potential for greater energy efficiency. The case for completing Sizewell B must therefore be assessed against the economics of alternative forms of generation, available for immediate construction. It is not likely that an alternative design of nuclear plant could be brought into operation within the time scale required.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make it his policy to carry out a further review of the economics of the Sizewell B nuclear power station when it is (a) 50 per cent. complete and (b) 66 per cent. complete.

We will continue to monitor closely the costs of Sizewell B through six-monthly progress reports which Nuclear Electric will continue to provide to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. Any further economic analysis of Sizewell B will be carried out as necessary.