Ynys Môn MP holds Parliamentary debate about nuclear power funding

THE MP for Ynys Môn, Virginia Crosbie, has said legislation designed to finance new nuclear power stations will help level up the country and be an economic boost to Anglesey, Wales and the UK.

The Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill is now entering its committee stage and Mrs Crosbie will sit on the committee to scrutinise it.

However, until then, her campaign to bring new nuclear power to Anglesey was outlined in a parliamentary debate she held this week.

In her speech, Mrs Crosbie said the seven advanced gas-cooled nuclear reactors, which have been the most productive low-carbon assets in Britain’s history, will all be retired by 2030.

If the country is to meet its net carbon neutral ambitions, then new nuclear energy must come online.

She told MPs: “Nuclear has the ability to give the UK energy security and stability for decades to come, but we need to get to grips with nuclear sooner rather than later.

“I was delighted when the Government announced its Nuclear Energy (Financing Bill), which had its Second Reading last week.

“The need for the bill brings me back to the fundamental problem with nuclear.

“Yes, it has by far the lowest land footprint and thus the lowest knock-on environmental impact of any clean energy source.

“Yes, it would create an estimated 90,000 well-paid, quality UK jobs, along with huge supply chain opportunities.

“Yes, it would keep producing reliable energy regardless of whether it is sunny or windy. And yes, it would give the UK energy security and stability.

“But—and it is a big but—building a large nuclear plant takes time and money, and therein sits the big grey elephant in the room.”

Mrs Crosbie explained that Hitachi pulling out of Wylfa Newydd earlier this year was because of financing problems.

She added: “That is why the Government is progressing the Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill through Parliament, to de-risk new nuclear projects and attract private sector financing for large-scale and advanced nuclear power projects through the RAB (regulated asset-base) model.

“Under this model, an independent regulator sets a price which a developer is subsequently allowed to levy on consumer bills in return for the provision of certain power infrastructure, even before they begin generating power.

“This allows developers to have a guaranteed return on their investment and lower costs when raising the capital required for building a power station.”

Mrs Crosbie also stressed new nuclear, including small modular reactors (SMR), that have this week received government funding to develop, will make a huge difference to communities like Anglesey that have seen decades of underinvestment and need levelling up.

She asked: “When we are importing gas from Russia and electricity from France, where are the jobs generating that power located?

“Who is getting the value added from what we are paying for that power? British people are paying their electricity bills and they are not always funding jobs.

“At its peak, a large-scale nuclear plant employs around 10,000 people.

“At the moment, while constituencies such as mine of Ynys Môn suffer low gross value added, underinvestment and a lack of quality, well-paid local jobs, we are paying our continental neighbours to provide us with energy.

“For all those reasons, the UK needs to look closely and urgently at its energy strategy.

“There is an answer. Nuclear is the most powerful and jobs-rich form of low-carbon energy.

“Nuclear is very important to me and many of my constituents. Ynys Môn used to be known as Môn, Mam Cymru – mother of Wales – because years ago it used to feed the whole of Wales.

“With the right financing in place from the Government, Ynys Môn can once again be Môn, Mam Cymru, but instead of food, it will provide Wales and beyond with energy.”

North Wales Chronicle | Anglesey