Nuclear Energy (Employees)

Oral Answers to Questions — Energy – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th June 1991.

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Photo of Mr Trevor Skeet Mr Trevor Skeet , Bedfordshire North 12:00 am, 17th June 1991

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is his estimate of the number of people employed in Britain's nuclear energy industry.

Photo of Mr John Wakeham Mr John Wakeham , Colchester South and Maldon

The total number of people directly employed in the British nuclear energy industry is about 40,000.

Photo of Mr Trevor Skeet Mr Trevor Skeet , Bedfordshire North

Does the Secretary of State recognise that unless he is prepared to bring the review of the nuclear industry forward to 1993, he will be faced with a declining nuclear industry? Does he regard with any great satisfaction the fact that France has 75 per cent. of its total electricity produced by the nuclear industry, while Belgium produces 60 per cent. by that method? Why cannot we have a comparable figure of electricity production from our nuclear industry?

Photo of Mr John Wakeham Mr John Wakeham , Colchester South and Maldon

The answer to that question goes back to long before I was Secretary of State; others must bear a share of the responsibility.

My hon. Friend has asked me to bring the 1994 review forward. I am sorry, but I do not believe that that would be the right course of action. I believe that 1994 is the correct time to review the future of the nuclear industry of this country because we will then have completed the Sizewell B project and we will have had an opportunity to consider the various options for the future. The nuclear industry has a good future if it is able to produce electricity at a low cost, and safely.