CND Vice-President and scientific adviser Dr Ian Fairlie writes on last week’s Budget statement:
On March 15, the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt MP, announced the government’s financial plans for 2023. A close textual analysis (by several of the Nuclear Consultants Group) of Hunt’s speech only reveals warm words to pacify the Tory backbenchers – and they’ve all been stated before. In other words, it appears that there are no new nuclear commitments and, crucially, no new actual £ figures have been published. In particular, the HM Treasury’s website breakdown of additional expenditures appears to show no line for investment in Great British Nuclear.
After the speech, some newspapers reported that £80m would be provided for new nuclear startups but this has not been confirmed in Treasury written statements. Informed sources say more information may be provided later in the year when an updated Energy Strategy is apparently to be published. We shall see.
The important matter for readers is that, despite a four month onslaught of pro-nuclear press articles designed to put pressure on it, the Treasury resisted these blandishments and provided little more than warm words in the budget. It’s not difficult to see why. Despite the media clamour in recent months for more nuclear power, the reality is that after Covid and the disaster of Brexit, the country simply could not afford to bear the whopping costs of new nuclear power stations, beyond what had already been promised by Boris Johnson when he was PM.
Read more here.
Photo by Zara Farrar / HM Treasury