The UK government’s nuclear new build plans could boost the country’s economy by more than £5bn a year, according to a new report.
Figures from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) also suggest that rebuilding new nuclear energy capacity in the UK could create more than 32 000 jobs and significantly boost annual exports.
The research stated that if nuclear power met all the additional capacity required, the result would be a boost to UK GDP of up to 0.34 per cent a year and an annual economic gain of £5.1bn. It also said that the investment could result in additional direct and indirect job gains of more than 22,000 a year, together with further induced jobs of up to 10,000 a year created by increased economic activity as a result of the associated investment.
The IPPR report said: “If the government makes a clear and credible commitment to nuclear energy in the form of a long-term strategy, and if it has all-party support in doing so, then UK industry can be reasonably confident that there will be a steady stream of work and contracts in the future.”
The report suggests that export activity from the energy sector could more than double, from around £700m annually now to between £1.2-1.7bn by 2030 at today’s prices.
The UK’s Minister at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Mark Prisk said the report “demonstrates the compelling business case for investing in the UK’s energy infrastructure”.
“New nuclear build is an important part of the diverse energy mix we need for the UK’s low-carbon future,” he added.
The research was commissioned by EDF Energy, which has plans to build four new nuclear plants at Hinkley Point in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk, with a combined capacity of 6.4 GW.
EDF Energy chief executive Vincent de Rivaz recently told MPs scrutinising the government’s draft Energy Bill that the company was committed to new nuclear.
“It is important to maintain the current momentum. A huge amount remains to be done ahead of our final investment decision at the end of this year – but we are determined to do it. New nuclear build must be cost-competitive with other low-carbon choices.”