Civil Nuclear Road Map

Part of Backbench Business – in the House of Commons am 2:32 pm ar 22 Chwefror 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Damian Collins Damian Collins Chair, Draft Online Safety Bill (Joint Committee), Chair, Draft Online Safety Bill (Joint Committee) 2:32, 22 Chwefror 2024

I beg to move,

That this House
has considered the civil nuclear roadmap.

I thank the Backbench Business Committee for allowing time for a debate on this very important subject. This is probably the biggest moment for the nuclear industry in the UK for 50 years. The Government have set a very important and ambitious target of an extra 24 GW of nuclear energy into the grid by 2050. It will require a huge feat of civil engineering to create the facilities required to deliver that. We will do that in the context of wishing to see less reliance on imported oil and gas in our economy, with more clean sources of energy and electricity, and recognising that other changes in technology are creating enormous demands for new energy. The impact of artificial intelligence on energy demand will be very significant indeed. A researcher in the Netherlands estimated that the amount of electricity just to power AI in the world by 2027 will require enough electricity to power a country the size of the Netherlands. That is a not insignificant amount and an entirely new demand, in addition to the high levels of water required to power the cooling systems required for the amount of computing power and energy. Our demands for the electricity market are changing, but technology is also changing the impact it will have.

The review that the civil nuclear road map sets out has to consider not only those challenges but the requirement set in 2011, when the current nuclear site list was agreed by Parliament, that it would need to be reviewed in 2025 for the next period. I remember very well, as a new Member of Parliament, the 2011 review, and with the nuclear power station at Dungeness in my constituency. The idea of the site list then was to try to give certainty to communities that nuclear power stations could be developed there, largely alongside existing facilities. Eight locations were agreed. Dungeness in my constituency was not expressly ruled out, but it was not included at that time. I have tried to be an advocate for looking at what is possible for nuclear sites such as Dungeness, and not just looking to say, “Well, if they can’t accommodate a nuclear reactor the size of Hinkley Point C or Sizewell C then there is no future for them at all.”