Fylde MP calls for a rethink on Britain's nuclear power future

The oxide fuel plant at Springfields, Salwick which produces nuclear fuel for power stations
The oxide fuel plant at Springfields, Salwick which produces nuclear fuel for power stations

Fylde MP Mark Menzies has said Britain should seriously think about constructing its own nuclear power stations, rather than relying on foreign private sector firms who are failing to deliver.

He was speaking following this week’s news that Japanese giant Hitachi is shelving construction of a new plant at Wylfa in Wales.

Fylde MP Mark Menzies

Fylde MP Mark Menzies

Last year Toshiba also pulled out of a major nuclear power station project, the Moorside plant in Cumbria.

Mr Menzies is concerned as more than 1,000 people in his constituency are employed in nuclear fuel production and could have seen jobs safeguarded by the new schemes.

The Confederation of British Industry described Hitachi’s move as a “significant blow to the UK’s future energy supply plans.”

And shale gas supporters Lancashire For Shale has said it leaves a black hole in the nation’s energy production capacity and strengthens the case for fracking to fill the need.

Fylde MP Mr Menzies has been pressing ministers over moves to replace the ageing nuclear plants and says the nuclear plant at Salwick would be ideal for producing fuel.

He said: “I have written to ministers raising concerns over the latest developments in the nuclear industry.

“Springfields, employs some 1,200 people in my constituency, and I want to ensure the Government is doing everything it can to ensure our nuclear fuel is made here in the UK.

“Perhaps it is time we looked closer to home not only for the fuel, but also for the construction of our next generation nuclear power stations.”

Matthew Fell, CBI chief UK policy director, said: “The suspension of Hitachi’s work on the nuclear power plant at Wylfa is a significant blow to the UK’s future energy supply plans. “

As the second cancellation of funding for a new nuclear plant in as many months, it leaves in doubt the UK’s ability to replace its existing nuclear fleet.

“The Government has to demonstrate it is committed to meeting our climate change targets by supporting new low-carbon power supply.”

Lee Petts from Lancashire For Shale said: “If we’re going to use gas with renewables to offset lost nuclear generation, then it makes economic and environmental sense to use shale gas extracted here rather than relying on costlier, less secure and higher emission imports from places like North Africa.”