French technology and nuclear manufacturer Areva has published a response to the UK’s on-going Energy Policy Review calling for a diverse energy mix including nuclear energy.
“Areva believes that nuclear power is part of the solution to the UK’s future energy needs and to meeting greenhouse gas targets; we believe that nuclear power is but one element of a diverse energy mix that should include renewables,” the company says. “Our study of UK conditions leads us to the view that, with the modernisation and reform of planning and regulation along the lines of international best practice, new nuclear power stations can be built and operated profitably without any government subsidy… nuclear power is a competitive means of generating baseload electricity even before the costs of carbon are taken into account.”
Although it claims no government subsidy is required for nuclear plant, Areva suggests four measures that would allow the private sector to deliver a new generation of nuclear power plants include: a strong signal of support for nuclear power; a streamlined licensing and regulatory system to make the approval processes faster and more predictable; a clear waste management policy providing potential investors with clarity on potential costs and liabilities; and commitments to grid investment, adding that: “investment decisions about the development of the UK’s high-voltage transmission network may affect the ability of nuclear power stations to connect to the grid.”
The UK’s Nuclear Installations Inspectorate should also be given sufficient resources so it can perform its assessments in a timely manner. Areava adds that decommissioning is not a financial obstacle to building the new generation of nuclear power stations and does not alter nuclear competitiveness, as the costs can be easily provided for over the 60-year life of the plant.
The Areva study concludes that with the right processes in place, a new nuclear power station in the UK could be generating by 2017.
The French company’s submission follow comments from Eon UK’s chief executive Paul Golby, who told the UK’s Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group’s annual conference recently: “I don’t believe nuclear power should require government support. I don’t believe it would undermine the development of other technologies.”