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Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill completes passage through Parliament

31 March 2022

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The Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill had its third reading, a chance for members to make sure the eventual law is effective, workable and without loopholes, on Wednesday 30 March. 

The bill was granted Royal Assent on Thursday 31 March 2022 and is now an Act of Parliament (law). 

The Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill will provide finances for new nuclear power stations by introducing a regulated asset base (RAB), which empowers the economic regulator to levy charges on consumers.

Final checks

Third reading is a chance for members to make sure the eventual law is effective, workable and without loopholes.

No changes to the wording of the bill were put forward ahead of third reading.

As both Houses have agreed on the text of the bill, it now awaits the final step of Royal Assent when it will become an Act of Parliament (law). 

How to follow

Explore further information 

Read background on the bill in the Lords Library Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill briefing. 

What's happened so far?

Report stage: Thursday 24 March

Report stage is an extra chance for members to closely scrutinise elements of the bill and make changes.  

Proposed changes 

Members put forward changes (PDF) (amendments) to consider at report stage. 

The amendments covered a range of subjects, including:

  • ensuring value for money and transparency when designating a nuclear company 

  • protecting consumer bills

  • establishing and maintaining a list of foreign powers and entities that are barred from involvement in UK nuclear projects

  • safe treatment and disposal of nuclear waste.

Lords divisons

There were also two divisions (votes) on proposed changes to the bill, but niether of these changes were made.

Watch or read the debate

Committee stage: Tuesday 8 March

Proposed changes

Members speaking at committee stage put forward changes (amendments) to the bill to be discussed. 

The amendments covered a range of subjects, including:

  • extending provisions of the bill to nuclear fusion electricity generation if that process becomes viable

  • requiring a geological disposal facility for high-level nuclear waste in the UK to be operational before a company can be designated as a RAB

  • requiring nuclear companies to be either not-for-profit, a cooperative, a Community Interest Company, or wholly owned by UK public authorities in order to qualify for the financing scheme established in the bill

  • ensuring more information on the impact the RAB will have on consumer bills being made available and for it to be independently checked

  • establishing a state-owned entity to take over the delivery or operation of a nuclear project in the event that a nuclear company fails and cannot be saved or have its assets transferred.

Catch up

Second reading: Monday 21 February

Members discussed the main issues in the bill during the second reading debate, including:

  • the criteria nuclear companies would have to meet to be designated a RAB

  • revenue collection contracts and regulations

  • protections for consumers under a RAB model

  • the role of foreign financing in future projects

  • the long-term solution for nuclear waste

  • the role of devolved administrations in the process of designating project companies benefiting from the RAB model

  • establishing a special administration regime for relevant licensee nuclear companies.

Members speaking 

Lord Callanan (Conservative), Minister for Business, Energy and Corporate Responsibility, opened the debate and responded on behalf of the government. 

Members speaking in the debate included: 

Catch up

Find out more about the issues discussed: catch up on Parliament TV or read the Lords Hansard transcript.

Image: Wostemme / Pixababy