1. ITV Report

Government urged to 'end indecision' over nuclear power

The Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/PA Images

The House of Lords has urged the new government to "end indecision" over the future of nuclear power in the UK.

The Science and Technology Committee has today published a report setting out recommendations for the Government after the general election.

It says successive Governments have failed to make the most of the civil nuclear industry, causing the UK to lag behind other nations.

The Committee has also raised concerns about Brexit, and the possibility of the UK leaving the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), an international programme for developing the European nuclear industry.

It is urging the Government to set up a working group of industry and government representatives, to develop a plan to preserve the benefits of Euratom.

The incoming Government must end its cycle of indecision on nuclear policy and we urge it to take a clear, firm view on Small Modular Reactors and wider civil nuclear strategy.

We also found that the amount of UK funding for nuclear research, development and innovation is much lower than public funding levels in other leading nuclear nations, including the US, France and Japan.

If the Government’s aim is for the UK to be active across the main areas of nuclear R&D it needs to make significant investments in new technologies or we risk falling behind the rest of the world.

– the Earl of Selborne, Chairman of the Committee

The Committee's warning comes as further doubt is thrown on the multi-billion-pound Moorside nuclear development in Cumbria.

Troubled Japanese giant Toshiba is set to become the sole owner of NuGen, the company behind Moorside, despite its financial difficulties.

Toshiba warned it could collapse due to losses of almost £4 billion in the nine months ending in December 2016.