Leading Tory says Cameron and Hollande must save UK nuclear

Tim Yeo, chairman of the UK energy and climate change committee says the prime minister must step in urgently to rescue the UK’s nuclear power programme, or risk it failing, after French nuclear company EDF gave a downbeat report on the prospects for a new fleet of reactors in the UK.
Vincent de Rivaz
Mr Yeo said that David Cameron must speak to his French counterpart, Francois Hollande, in order to decide what conditions are necessary for the state-owned French utility to fulfil its planned investment.

“This is something that can only be done by the heads of government of Britain and France,” Mr Yeo told the Guardian. “There may need to be special arrangements for nuclear separate from the regulation and subsidy of other forms of power]. Given the size of this investment ” billions and billions, with a return on investment coming well into the 2020s ” this has to involve the heads of government.”

Yeo was speaking after the committee’s MPs questioned EDF Energy chief executive Vincent de Rivaz and several other energy company senior directors. De Rivaz was “very downbeat” on the prospects for new nuclear power stations, said Yeo.

“It is a worry for the government that EDF is so downbeat. They are the only horse left in this race and if they falter it might mean the end of the whole [nuclear] programme. The government has got to pay a lot of attention to what EDF is saying,” he said.

De Rivaz told the committee that the company’s first planned investment, at Hinkley, was subject to the government putting a framework in place on time. He said: “I think it’s very clear that we will not be able to make our final investment decision, as we expect to make it at the end of the year without a contract for difference, and without a robust legal framework for this contract.”

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