Nuclear power plants must be value for money, say MPs

Future nuclear power projects in Wales must be value for money and create jobs where they are built, MPs have said.

The Welsh Affairs Committee said it was satisfied with safety, but wanted clarity on costs. It said Wylfa Newydd on Anglesey should only be built if its electricity costs no more than that from Hinkley Point C in Somerset, or from renewable sources. The UK government said any proposed new sites would “need to offer value for money for the taxpayer”.

MPs carried out an inquiry into the potential of fresh power generation at the two nuclear sites in north Wales.

A new £8bn station employing 1,000 people is planned for Wylfa to replace the plant which closed in December after operating for 44 years.

A replacement has also been mooted for the Trawsfynydd plant, in Gwynedd, which stopped generating power in 1991 and is being decommissioned.

The committee said it recognised a “notable lack of public confidence” in nuclear power following incidents such as the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan.

However, committee chairman David Davies said MPs were “impressed by the level of scrutiny” of the UK nuclear industry and “reassured that the highest safety standards are followed”.

“The key questions that need to be answered for future development of nuclear power at Wylfa and Trawsfynydd to be viable centre on value for money and local impact,” he added.

“The [UK] government must prove that the cost of any nuclear development is well understood and competitive with renewable sources. These costs must be made public in a format that can be easily understood.

“There has to be a demonstrable benefit for the local community as well. Local businesses must form a key part of the supply chain and be given sufficient information to allow this to happen.

“We must also make use of the many skilled nuclear workers currently based in Wales and provide sufficient training to develop the next generation.”

Doubts about the viability of Wylfa Newydd have surfaced amid negotiations about the “strike price” which ministers will pay for power generated by Hinkley Point C.

Courtesy BBC News