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Nuclear Development Forum

Volume 491: debated on Thursday 23 April 2009

6. What recent representations he has received on the work of the nuclear development forum; and if he will make a statement. (270303)

My hon. and learned Friend will be aware of the plethora of measures introduced in yesterday’s Budget to deal with the growing problem of climate change. Nuclear development is very important, because nuclear power can play a big role in the battle against climate change. It is safe and efficient, and it is now a crucial tool in that battle. There is a whole industry out there that this country needs to develop, particularly in the area of nuclear fuels—and I am proud to be able to say that Westinghouse, which can develop such fuels, is located close to my constituency at Springfields. When will the Government get their act together and develop the technologies that we need to combat climate change?

I hope that the Government have set out very clearly how we are going to create a low-carbon economy. We need to develop the base load of nuclear, so that we have new nuclear power stations to replace some of those that will come off-stream in the coming decade and a half. We also need to ensure that we have the renewables, particularly wind generated both onshore and offshore. Beyond that, we need to ensure that, with carbon capture and storage, we have the flexibility to deal with problems of variability of demand and intermittency, and that will come from coal and gas-fired power stations. So there is a clear vision of the way forward for energy generation in this country that will move us towards a low-carbon economy, and with the commitment to reduce our emissions by 80 per cent. by 2050, we are on a clear trajectory to ensure that we meet our climate change needs.