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    Nuclear to be reclassif ied as 'green' to boost grants

    March 16, 2023 - By David Churchill Chief Political Correspondent


      NUCLEAR energy is to be reclassified as 'environmentally sustainable' so it has the same access to investment incentives as renewables.

      The move is aimed at ensuring a quarter of the country's electricity comes from nuclear by 2050.

      A Great British Nuclear scheme will be launched to 'bring down costs' and 'provide opportunities' by helping to build production sites.

      It is part of a strategy to ensure the UK is not overly reliant on imports for energy production following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

      Chancellor Jeremy Hunt also said he wanted to invest up to £20billion to help develop carbon capture usage and storage technologies.

      These are designed to suck up greenhouse gases emitted by major polluting industries such as steel, glass and power.

      The Chancellor said he hoped the money would help a sector that could support up to 50,000 jobs. But none of the cash will come before the next election, after which Mr Hunt may no longer be in office.

      The Chancellor told the Commons: 'We are world leaders in renewable energy so today I want to develop another plank of our green economy, carbon capture usage and storage.

      'To encourage private sector investment into our nuclear programme, I confirm that subject to consultation nuclear power will be classed as "environmentally sustainable" in our green taxonomy, giving it access to the same investment incentives as renewable energy. Alongside that will come more public investment.'

      But Professor Adrian Bull, of the Dalton Nuclear Institute at the University of Manchester, said: 'The Chancellor's words on nuclear give a positive message, but it's more like a greatest hits compilation from the past, rather than anything new.

      'Confirming nuclear's environmental credentials will certainly help attract investment - but it's only stating the obvious. Nuclear is as low carbon as renewables and should always have been treated that way.'

      Although firms in Scotland could have benefited from the move, the Scottish Government will not allow any new reactors.

      In the Commons, SNP Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie said: 'Allowing one or two generations to buy expensive, overpriced nuclear energy - nuclear electricity - and then forcing the next 50 generations to decommission, store and guard toxic nuclear waste is not green.'

      Coal power stations are still needed

      GRANT Shapps has asked the UK's remaining coal-fired power stations to stay open to ensure the lights stay on next winter.

      The Energy Secretary has requested National Grid ESO signs contracts with the owners of the five plants, which were due to have closed by now, to remain available to supply electricity at short notice.

      A similar scheme was in place this winter and involved the National Grid ESO helping UK coal power stations import an estimated 800,000 tons of coal from around the world.

      Drax operates two plants near Selby, North Yorkshire. There are also two run by EDF at West Burton A, in Derbyshire, and another by Uniper at Ratcliffeon-Soar, Nottinghamshire.

      The move is at odds with commitments to cut climate change emissions. A legal ban on coalfired power generation is due to come into effect next year.

      A government spokesman said it was 'going above and beyond to ensure there are no issues next winter'.


      'A greatest hits compilation'


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