'Time for dithering on new nuclear capacity is over'

Heat turned up over lack of ministerial commitment to ‘green’ financing of nuclear energy

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The failure of ministers to include nuclear energy in the government’s Green Financing Framework is ‘a grave and short-sighted error’, if the UK is to meet its 2050 target of net zero emissions, Unite the union has said.

Unite, which has thousands of members in the energy sector, has written to the chancellor Rishi Sunak today (July 8) asking him to redress this omission in the framework, otherwise questions will be asked as to the government’s commitment to the nuclear industry.

In the letter to the chancellor, Unite national officer for energy Rob MacGregor wrote, “It is a grave and short-sighted error not to include nuclear energy in the financing model. Such an omission calls for serious questions on ministers’ commitment to the nuclear industry.

“This failure, if not rectified, will drive a coach-and-horses through the UK government’s often-repeated pledge to have net zero emissions by 2050.

“The government needs to include a comprehensive financial blueprint for the development of ‘clean’ nuclear capacity in the coming decades to bolster the UK’s fight against the climate change crisis that is already engulfing us, as witnessed by the extreme temperatures and ensuing wild fires in western Canada recently.”

Commenting on the letter Rob MacGregor said, “For a number of years now there has been confusion and ambivalence by government as to the role of nuclear in the future ‘clean’ energy ‘mix, as the UK faces up to the twin challenges of the climate crisis, and the increasing demand for energy from industry, commerce and the consumer.

“The time for dithering in the highest echelons of government over the financing of new nuclear capacity is over,” he added.

Unite has consistently argued for a strategy, involving government, energy companies and the unions, to create a new generation of skilled ‘green’ employment  which underlines the UK’s commitment to ensure net zero carbon emissions across all forms of energy by 2050.

By Shaun Noble

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