The Government is too complacent about the UK's nuclear research and development (R&D) capabilities, and associated expertise, which will be lost unless there is a fundamental change in the Government’s approach. This is just one of the conclusions of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, which publishes its report today.
The Committee's key recommendations include:
- the development of a long-term strategy for nuclear energy looking beyond 2025, outlining support for R&D through an R&D Roadmap and for the commercial exploitation of the UK’s current strengths in nuclear research. This is vital to ensure that the UK keeps the nuclear energy options open
- the establishment of an Nuclear R&D Board, made up of industry, academic and government partners, to develop and implement the R&D roadmap and help to improve the co-ordination of R&D activities to protect vulnerable areas of research and close gaps in capabilities
Committee Chairman, Lord Krebs, said:
"Many of the UK's experts in R&D on nuclear energy are nearing retirement age. The UK's expertise was built on past investments in research and a lack of investment over the last two decades means that the UK is now in danger of losing this expertise. As a result we are in danger of placing ourselves in a position where we will be unable to ensure a safe and secure supply of nuclear energy up to 2050.
Government have stated that nuclear energy will play an important role in the electricity supply in the future. If the Government are serious about this commitment, they must take steps now to ensure that there is a new generation of experts, together with R&D, on which the nuclear industry, Government and the regulator rely. Without action now, in our view, the Government’s nuclear energy policy simply lacks credibility."
Image: Parliamentary copyright