According to a report, the government’s vision to increase the UK’s nuclear power is more of a “wish list” than a detailed strategy.
MPs on Parliament’s science committee said questions remained over the plan to reach 24 gigawatts by 2050 – the same year it pledged to reach net zero emissions.
The report backs the target but says the government’s energy security plan, released in March, gives few details on how it will be achieved.
The plans do not “match the comprehensive, detailed and specific strategy which we believe is necessary for the government’s aspirations to be realised”, according to the MPs.
Committee chairman Greg Clark said the 24 gigawatt target would be “almost double the highest level of nuclear generation that the UK has ever reached”.
He added: “The only way to achieve this is to translate these very high-level aspirations into a comprehensive, concrete and detailed nuclear strategic plan, developed jointly with the nuclear industry, which benefits from long-term multi-stakeholder political commitment. term and therefore provides reliability for private and public investment decisions.”
The 118-page report also raised concerns about Great British Nuclear (GBN), a body involved in the development of smaller-scale nuclear technology projects.
Energy Secretary Grant Shapps said earlier this month that GBN would play a vital role in the “renaissance” of nuclear power in the UK.
But the report says there is “ambiguity about what GBN’s exact mission will be in the future, beyond running an SMR (small modular reactor) competition.”
The Scientific Committee called for a “fuller statement of GBN’s remit, operating model and budget, and its intended role vis-à-vis ministers and ministries”.
Activists against Sizewell C Nuclear Power Station – which will be built in Suffolk – also welcomed a call for more clarity on how major projects are funded, after the report said “robust estimates” were key to deciding whether such projects should go from the front.
The group Stop Sizewell C said it supported the committee’s call for the government to release details of the cost and value of Sizewell C, as it “will reveal just how slow, risky and costly this project is. unjustifiable”.
However, a spokesman said he was dismayed that MPs were ‘ignoring legitimate concerns about whether nuclear can provide reliable and affordable electricity’.
Sunak heads to Scotland for net zero energy policy
Why taxpayers will share the pain of the cost of building Sizewell C
Responding to concerns about the lack of detail, a spokesperson for the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero said, “We have already made it clear that we will release a nuclear roadmap and consult on alternative routes to commercialization of here the end of the year.
“Nuclear has a vital role to play in achieving net zero and boosting energy security – last week we launched Great British Nuclear which will help generate billions for the UK economy and support thousands of jobs. “
Professor Adrian Bull, from the Dalton Nuclear Institute at the University of Manchester, said he supported MPs’ key recommendation of a strategic nuclear review.
He said it would ‘give clear direction to Great British Nuclear and others on how to proceed towards the 2050 target’.
“This plan would provide clarity and confidence to businesses in the sector and the thousands of new hires needed to support the delivery of such an ambitious program…Unless a clear and comprehensive plan is produced soon, we are sure to fail,” he added.