The GB nuclear power policy merry-go-round?

Over the past 30 years successive governments have sought to create a policy framework to accommodate investment in nuclear power in competitive wholesale markets:

  • Following a long-running public enquiry Sizewell B is the last nuclear power station to be commissioned pre-privatization
  • The Conservative Party 1987 manifesto committed to privatise the electricity supply industry
  • The 1989 Electricity Act saw the privatisation of the industry barring nuclear assets
  • Sizewell B is commissioned in February 1995
  • British Energy, along with AGRs and Sizewell B are successfully privatised in 1996
  • The 2003 Energy White Paper notes the lack of planned new nuclear power plants and its use as a source of low-carbon electricity generation
  • The 2007 Energy White Paper confirms support for nuclear power, provided the private sector funds, develops and builds new stations
  • The 2008 Nuclear White Paper supports new nuclear stations financed by the private sector. In the same year EDF Energy completes the purchase of British Energy
  • Hinkley Point C becomes the first nuclear power station to be supported by the Contracts for Difference (CfDs) scheme
Image showing nuclear power policy

On 4 June 2018, the government announces it will consider direct investment into the Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station project, alongside Hitachi and the Japanese government. The government is also now considering a regulated asset base model as an approach for future nuclear projects beyond Wylfa. The former in particular represents a return to pre-privatisation, state backed investment in nuclear power after decades of effort to keep the state out of the market where nuclear power is concerned.

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