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New and Advanced Nuclear Power

Volume 715: debated on Tuesday 7 June 2022

As my hon. Friend knows, for the first time in 20 years we are committed to much more nuclear capacity than we have ever seen, and the target of 24 GW by 2050 is ambitious but perfectly achievable.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that an early decision to announce the commissioning of the first small modular reactors, built by Rolls-Royce, will provide additional investment in our national infrastructure, more jobs and, crucially, help to secure our sovereign energy independence of supply?

Earlier this year I was delighted to announce investment—£210 million as I remember—in Rolls-Royce, and the SMRs, as well as advanced nuclear reactors, represent an exciting development in new nuclear. Looking at Labour Members, I must say that it is gratifying to see nuclear power being defended, as under their watch nuclear power was denuded and derided.

Hinkley Point C is 50% over budget and running years late. The Government cannot get investment for Sizewell C, and their impact assessment states that a new nuclear power station could cost £63 billion. Is the former Energy Minister, the right hon. Member for Hereford and South Herefordshire (Jesse Norman), correct to say that it is utter fantasy to pretend that this Government can deliver a new nuclear reactor each year?

The strategy is committed to 24 GW, and it is about large-scale nuclear and SMRs, which my hon. Friend the Member for Filton and Bradley Stoke (Jack Lopresti) referred to. It will be a balance, and we feel that we can reach that. It is rich of Scottish National party Members to deride our nuclear programme when they do not even agree with it. They think the whole thing is a complete waste of time. Where else would we find decarbonised baseload? They do not have the answer to that.