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Boris Johnson ‘gung ho’ for new nuclear power, but Chancellor Rishi Sunak applying the brakes

Boris Johnson in ‘gung ho’ push for more nuclear power as energy
crisis starts to bite. Boris Johnson will on Monday sketch out to industry
bosses what one minister called his “gung ho” approach to boosting
Britain’s nuclear power sector, as officials draw up plans that could
target a fivefold increase in capacity by 2050.

The prime minister vowed
this month to make “a series of big new bets on nuclear power” and
government insiders say this could imply the construction of at least half
a dozen big new stations between 2030 and 2050.

Rishi Sunak, chancellor,
last week applied the brakes to Johnson’s plans to set out an energy
security strategy this week, amid Treasury fears about the cost to the
public purse. New nuclear power stations each require close to £ 20bn to
build and the industry is prone to cost overruns.

Sunak, who presents his
Spring Statement this week, is trying to hold down spending to give him
space to cut taxes. “We need to do more work on the nuclear strategy
before we press ahead,” said one ally of the chancellor. But one cabinet
minister said: “Boris has had something of an evangelical conversion, in
the past few months – he has been really gung-ho for nuclear.” The
energy strategy is due before the end of the month.

 FT 20th March 2022


March 22, 2022 - Posted by | politics, UK

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