Amendment 11

Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill - Report – in the House of Lords at 5:26 pm on 24th March 2022.

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Lord McNicol of West Kilbride:

Moved by Lord McNicol of West Kilbride

11: Clause 31, page 23, line 22, at end insert—“(3A) Nothing in this Part prevents the Secretary of State establishing a Government-owned company into which the assets, liabilities and undertakings of the relevant licensee nuclear company may be transferred in order to allow electricity supply to be commenced or continued.”Member’s explanatory statementThis amendment makes clear that nothing in Part 3 of the Bill (the special administration regime) prevents the Secretary of State from taking a project into public ownership, where that would allow electricity supply to be commenced or continued.

Photo of Lord McNicol of West Kilbride Lord McNicol of West Kilbride Deputy Chairman of Committees

My Lords, Amendment 11 would require the Secretary of State to undertake an assessment of the case for establishing a state-owned entity to take over the delivery and operation of a nuclear project in the event that a nuclear company fails and cannot be saved or have its assets transferred:

“This amendment makes clear that nothing in Part 3 of the Bill (the special administration regime) prevents the Secretary of State from taking a project into public ownership, where that would allow electricity supply to be commenced or continued.”

The ultimate aim of the Bill is to get power generated and distributed to homes and businesses across the country. We hope that firms will not fail, but if they do, there needs to be a clear process to ensure that plants are able to be built or continue to operate. I am sure the Minister will argue, as he did in Committee, that the special administration regime does this, but there is still potential for steps that may be needed, and surely, options should be defined in legislation now, rather than waiting until the worst should happen.

Amendment 12, in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Ravensdale, is fundamental to how nuclear energy is seen in the green mix. The Prime Minister has made this argument in favour of the wording within this amendment: I realise that we on these Benches do not often call for the Prime Minister’s words to be turned into law, but in this case we do. In fact, the government briefing and policy background to this Bill states, in paragraph 2:

“The Government has made high-level commitments to eliminate its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. This includes the passage of legislation that requires the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, as well as subsequent commitments to reduce carbon emissions by 78% and to decarbonise the electricity system by 2035.”

That is all commendable. It goes on:

“This will require rapid, significant changes in the energy sector: total UK electricity supply will need to double by 2050 and electricity from low-carbon sources will need to quadruple, in order to deliver the UK’s commitment to become a Net Zero emissions economy by that year.”

This is the important bit; it goes on, in paragraph 3:

“A key part of this will be to secure the transition to a clean electricity system that is reliable and affordable for energy consumers. This will require a substantial deployment of renewable technologies, alongside technologies such as nuclear which can provide energy to consumers when the wind is not blowing or the sun does not shine.”

Finally, paragraph 4 says:

“Large scale nuclear power plants are the only proven technology available today to provide continuous, reliable and low carbon electricity.”

I think the Government’s words speak for themselves, and I am happy to support the noble Lord, Lord Ravensdale, in his amendment. With that, I beg to move my Amendment 11.

Photo of Lord Ravensdale Lord Ravensdale Crossbench 5:30 pm, 24th March 2022

My Lords, I will speak to Amendment 12 in my name. I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Neville-Rolfe, for highlighting this issue to me and for working with me to develop this amendment. I also declare my interest as a project director and engineer in the nuclear industry working for Atkins. I apologise to noble Lords for not being able to be present in Grand Committee and thank the noble Lord, Lord McNicol, for his support with the amendment too.

This is a probing amendment designed to highlight a key issue with the way that nuclear projects under the RAB model under the provisions of the Bill are to be financed. The RAB will change the dynamics of capital rates for new nuclear projects by allowing pension funds and other institutional investors to fund large nuclear projects. There are three aspects relating to financing of new nuclear that need to be highlighted here.

First, the focus of Amendment 12 is that investors are constrained by ESG criteria that apply to their funds, as the noble Lord, Lord Howell, referred to earlier. The Government are due to consult on a UK green taxonomy this year, with a target to legislate by the end of the year. Our concern is that nuclear will not be considered sustainable or taxonomy aligned under this scheme. This concern comes from previous positions on nuclear and similar EU schemes, and that the Treasury did not include nuclear within its recent green financing framework.

This all comes back to technology independence. Nuclear is a low-carbon technology, along with many other low-carbon technologies, and the Government should not be picking winners in the race to net zero but enabling a level playing field. If nuclear is not considered as taxonomy aligned under the UK green taxonomy, there is a real risk that Sizewell C will not be viable under the RAB model. ESG alignment is now a key factor in capital raises for pension funds and institutional investors. In this case, a large non-ESG technology simply may not be able to attract capital in a sufficient quantity. I would be most grateful if the Minister could provide some assurance that nuclear will be considered as taxonomy aligned under the UK green taxonomy.

Secondly, I referred earlier to the UK Government Green Financing Framework, which describes how the UK Government plan to finance expenditures through the issuance of green gilts and the retail green savings bond. Currently, this excludes investment in nuclear, but again I urge the Government to reconsider. The Government need to take the lead here in defining what counts as sustainable within their frameworks. This is so important in leading the markets in the right direction and in allowing these schemes to finance future government investment in nuclear.

Thirdly, Solvency II rules govern the amount of illiquid assets which can be held by pension funds and insurance companies. This is another factor which could limit the ability of these market participants to invest in nuclear projects under the RAB model. Given that I understand the EU is undertaking reform in this area, can the Minister say what plans there are to reform Solvency II for the UK to ensure that sufficient capital is available to invest in infrastructure such as nuclear projects under the RAB model?

I note that these proposals on finance for nuclear are one of the five steps needed to make nuclear happen outlined last week by the APPG on Nuclear Energy, of which I am a vice-chair. Having the RAB model in place will be a huge step forward for the industry and is the key that will unlock nuclear new builds. The Government need to consider some more enabling steps within this model to ensure the market is able to provide the required capital and move these critical projects for our future energy system forward.

Photo of Baroness Neville-Rolfe Baroness Neville-Rolfe Chair, Built Environment Committee, Chair, Built Environment Committee

My Lords, I support the noble Lord, Lord Ravensdale, and Amendment 12, which is also in my name. It has been a pleasure to work with him again. I will be brief but, I hope, compelling.

One month has changed the world, and we have found ourselves in an unparalleled period of energy price volatility. The West has realised the dangers of relying on Russia for energy. Energy security is now an even greater priority. This is a sad but welcome change. Energy security has been a major concern of mine since I served as an Energy Minister in 2016 and appreciated the risks inherent in our energy policies of that time, both in terms of keeping the lights on and of inflation when things go wrong. I ploughed a lonely furrow at that time.

We need nuclear investment to replace our ageing fleet and to deal with the ups and downs of solar and wind power, as the noble Baroness, Lady Worthington, mentioned in relation to Amendment 1. I was also delighted and amused to listen to the noble Lord, Lord McNicol of West Kilbride, on the Prime Minister —we often agree across the divide. We need this investment fast, and we need several investments in large reactors and in small modular reactors. Nuclear power stations are long-lasting and, like renewables, have very low carbon emissions, and are therefore helpful in reaching net zero.

This welcome Bill edges things forward, but there is a problem, as the noble Lord, Lord Ravensdale, has highlighted. We need to find investors in new British nuclear installations, to replace the Chinese investment planned at Sizewell, and to attract investment from elsewhere. However—and here is the rub—the conventions on ESG and climate-friendly investments do not allow nuclear to count as green. With so much investment from the City and elsewhere now being directed at green options, this is a real risk to our nuclear ambitions. The rules ought to be changed and we must change them today.

Amendment 12 is a modest but important one. I look forward to a firm promise on green taxonomy from my noble friend the Minister, who is doing so much to make the nuclear revival a reality.

Photo of Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Green

My Lords, I will speak very briefly to Amendments 11 and 12, and chiefly to Amendments 13 and 14 in my name.

On Amendment 11, the noble Lord, Lord McNicol, perhaps predictably, stole the line I was going to use, so I will just note how this amendment demonstrates the practical reality that the state always ends up the last guarantor—the structure having to pick up the pieces. In so many areas of our economy we have privatised the profits and socialised the costs. This is a reminder that that is ultimately what always has to happen, but it is important that it is in the Bill.

On Amendment 12, it is interesting that the noble Lord, Lord Ravensdale, and I can agree on this. The whole question of whether nuclear can be included in the UK green taxonomy is something that I am sure we will continue to debate on another day, just as I will continue to debate with the Minister about intermittency. However, being aware of the time on a Thursday afternoon, I will spare everyone by not venturing in that direction.

My Amendments 13 and 14 would prevent financing being made available to nuclear companies until a plan exists for the safe treatment and disposal of the nuclear waste generated. In Committee, the noble Baroness, Lady Worthington, suggested that this was a “wrecking amendment”. I would say that it is a precautionary amendment. You do not start something until you know how you will finish it off. That is how we think about our existing and previous nuclear plants: given the huge decommissioning costs that our society is bearing today, we wish that people in the past had applied that principle, but they did not. They did not think about what would happen with decommissioning, and now we bear the costs.

In Committee, the Minister referred to the Energy Act 2008 and its legal requirement that all proposed new nuclear power stations have in place a decommissioning plan, approved by the Secretary of State, before any nuclear-related construction can commence on site. I put it to the Minister—whose comments I am interested to hear—that decommissioning surely must include dealing with the waste. This includes higher-level waste which, as the Minister said in Committee, is the waste which has to be “treated and stored safely” until there is a geological disposal facility available.

We had a considerable discussion about geological disposal facilities in Committee. There, the Minister spoke—and then wrote to me—about the three proposed sites in Cumbria and the one in Lincolnshire. I said extensively in Committee, and I will not repeat it now, just how resistant Cumbria was the last time there was an attempt to put a geological disposal facility there. I have seen no reason to think that there will not be the same reaction this time as there was last time.

It is interesting to look at what has happened at Theddlethorpe, in Lincolnshire. There is a really valuable local report from Lincolnshire Live, which reminds us of the importance of local media in helping people to know what is happening—as an aside, it is tragic that so much of that has been lost. The report, apparently quoting the Nuclear Waste Services, says that

“people would have the final say … in a binding referendum” before a geological disposal facility goes ahead. So it appears that the people will be given the right to decide.

What timeframe do we have here? The Nuclear Waste Services people say that the feasibility studies which have just started now will take two to three years to complete. After that, if it passes that two or three-year process, we will start drilling more holes to seriously look at the geology. The Nuclear Waste Services is attributed as saying that the “first trainloads of waste” would not roll out

“until the 2040s at the earliest”.

I come back to the requirement under the Energy Act 2008. If we do not have a plan for decommissioning, which must involve geological disposal facilities, and if this is something which is going to take a decade or more, how can we possibly go forward? What we are talking about here is putting the money in. How can we do that without, as it would appear, a legal route forward?

I feel that I should probably say at this point that I am aware of the time on a Thursday afternoon. For anyone who is thinking about their train, I have no intention of moving these amendments this afternoon—for the avoidance of doubt. I am well aware of the position of the largest opposition party, so I know where that vote would end up. However, this is an issue which needs a great deal more exploration and discussion, very clear timelines and an understanding that, if we must have a binding referendum before we have a geological disposal facility, this will be a pretty remote prospect.

Photo of Lord Howell of Guildford Lord Howell of Guildford Conservative

My Lords, I support Amendment 12 from the noble Lord, Lord Ravensdale, and my noble friend Lady Neville-Rolfe, because I am really quite keen to know what the Government’s thinking is on this fascinating and key issue.

First, can they tell us what is going on in Brussels, in the European Commission, where there is a great debate about this very subject? Furthermore, can we get some good information about where German official minds are turning on this issue? As we know, there is a thought going around that Germany, and indeed Switzerland as well—I have been talking to the Swiss and they have confirmed this—are going to delay further closure of their nuclear power which they had turned against. Austria is also following them. Now, as members of the EU, they are all discussing whether in fact the status of investment in future nuclear should be changed in this—to me—desirable way: ESG qualified. There is a very interesting and important matter to be clarified here, and it would be good to hear what the Government are thinking.

Secondly, the whole situation reminds us that the gigantic energy transformation which is being attempted across the planet—to decarbonise energy completely—is an entirely international and global issue. It is a vast undertaking. In fact, it is much bigger than the scale of the Industrial Revolution. It is the biggest change, after 200 years of embedded fossil fuels, not only in the energy industry but in the entire social and industrial structure of countless countries. We are moving on to an entirely new situation, and clearly the status of investment, and the taxonomy concerned in investing huge sums of money through the capitalist system, is absolutely central to this.

Thirdly, I see the worries of the past; the noble Baroness, Lady Bennett, put them graphically. There was terrible negligence and things were overlooked—things were just not understood—but now we are on the verge of an entirely new generation of technology in the nuclear industry. We are on the verge of entirely new approaches to the size of the machines, equipment and investment undertaken. We are on the verge of a wholly new approach to the handling of radioactive substances, minimising it, if possible, to the point of near-total safety. We are on the verge of an entirely new pattern of operations in the production and development of this industry. After years of lagging behind, we in this country, on this island, must move back to the forefront in this new area.

To my mind, the questions of the taxonomy, qualification for ESG and whether we regard the new nuclear generation as part of the green transformation are completely central. In fact, they will determine whether that green transformation happens at all.

Photo of Baroness Worthington Baroness Worthington Crossbench 5:45 pm, 24th March 2022

My Lords, I rise to speak in support of Amendment 12 in the names of the noble Lord, Lord Ravensdale, and the noble Baroness, Lady Neville-Rolfe. I will not detain the House for too long.

The question of whether nuclear should be classed as a green investment and therefore within the taxonomy should not be in doubt in any way. The reason it is even discussed is that the European Union turned it into a highly political question and ignored the advice of its own research agency, the Joint Research Centre, which was commissioned to assess whether nuclear should be considered sustainable and therefore be included. It unequivocally found that it should but, for political reasons—mostly centring on Austria’s vehement objection and the politics of Germany—this issue has been dragged out and treated separately, alongside another controversial aspect of the EU taxonomy: whether natural gas should be considered a green investment. To my mind, this was entirely regrettable and could have been avoided.

Since we have left the European Union, we have the good fortune of being able to set the record straight and make it absolutely clear that nuclear should be considered sustainable and green, and should therefore be included in our green finance definitions and the taxonomy. I look forward to the Government and the Treasury confirming as such, because to do anything else would be a great shame and would fly in the face of science. If anyone has had the pleasure of going through a pension screening survey to assess the greenness of their investments, they will note that, in many cases, nuclear is still listed alongside arms trading and pornography; this is a hangover from a different era and needs updating. I look forward to the UK setting the record straight and therefore sending a strong signal to other countries and the European Union.

I will not go into Amendment 14; my view on whether it is the right way to approach the waste issue was clear in Committee. It is a serious issue but we should not overexaggerate it in any way just to achieve the slowing down of this investment.

Photo of Viscount Trenchard Viscount Trenchard Conservative

My Lords, I wish to speak in support of Amendment 12, ably proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Ravensdale, and my noble friend Lady Neville-Rolfe. I tried to put my name to it on Tuesday but, because the Marshalled List was printed on Tuesday, it does not appear.

I do not think I need to repeat the arguments that have already been explained, but I want to ask the Minister how quickly the Government can take action to correct the situation in which nuclear projects are excluded from green financing. It was surprising and deeply disappointing that when the Treasury published the UK Government Green Financing Framework in June last year, nuclear projects were specifically excluded. Page 18 of the document states:

“Recognising that many sustainable investors have exclusionary criteria in place around nuclear energy, the UK Government will not finance any nuclear energy-related expenditures under the Framework.”

Does my noble friend not agree that this exclusion sent entirely the wrong signal to the market? The whole point is that “sustainable investors”, as the paper describes them, take their lead from the Government, which influences their ESG policies. Is it not now a matter of some urgency to withdraw this framework and replace it with one that rightly includes nuclear so that this damaging market distortion is removed?

Even the EU, despite continuing opposition from Germany, introduced a Complementary Climate Delegated Act on 2 February. The objective of the EU taxonomy is to step up the transition away from fossil fuels by drawing on all possible solutions to help the union reach its climate goals. The Commission has acknowledged that there is a role for private investment in gas and nuclear activities in the transition. It still does not acknowledge a continuing significant role for nuclear in a climate-neutral future, which it still maintains will be mostly based on renewable energy sources. The technical screening criteria contained in the EU delegated Act and the equivalent regulation referred to in the amendment are still concerned with transition to net zero rather than what is at least as important: to secure the continued supply of energy and electricity that rely on reliable sources of firm baseload power, such as nuclear, which are not dependent on whether the sun shines or the wind blows.

As for Amendments 13 and 14, the noble Baroness, Lady Bennett, exaggerates the nuclear waste issue. My noble friend Lady Bloomfield explained in Committee that the Energy Act 2008 already requires nuclear projects to have in place a funded decommissioning programme. Besides this, as your Lordships are aware, progress is being made in identifying suitable sites for geological disposal facilities.

I remind the noble Baroness that all the used nuclear fuel ever produced in the world since the 1950s would fit into one football pitch to the height of approximately 10 yards, so I do not think the trains she talked about will have very many wagons. Has she ever expressed any concern about the massive costs and energy requirement that will be incurred in disposing of millions of wind turbines and solar panels when they reach the end of their operational lives? Furthermore, France and some other countries reprocess and recycle nuclear fuel, which can make it even more productive. Some advanced reactor technologies are designed to run on used fuel. Happily, the noble Baroness has said she will not move her Amendments 13 and 14, which is good news, but if she had I would have voted against them.

Photo of Lord Oates Lord Oates Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change)

My Lords, I am happy to give Amendment 11, in the name of the noble Lord, Lord McNicol, the support of these Benches. It is particularly important given the failures of the early cost recovery model in the United States. Whatever one’s view of nuclear energy, we really do not want to end up spending more than $20 billion, like they did, and getting no new nuclear plants at all. South Carolina in particular spent $9 billion before Westinghouse went bankrupt. If we are to go ahead with this, we certainly need to ensure that it delivers something at the end of it.

On Amendment 12, I will not go into the detailed debate about the taxonomy issue. The one thing I will say, in the context of the amendments from the noble Baroness, Lady Bennett of Manor Castle, is that whether or not nuclear is regarded as a sustainable means of producing energy, it is certainly not clean. It produces significant amounts of waste that have to be dealt with. Nearly 70 years after our first nuclear plant came online, there has been a scandalous failure to provide a permanent solution. We heard from the noble Viscount, Lord Trenchard, that discussions are ongoing about the geological disposal facility. I am sure we will hear more from the Minister on that. This has been going on for years and years and there is no permanent solution.

I note that the noble Baroness, Lady Bennett, is not going to move her amendments. We certainly discussed this in some detail in Committee so I will not dwell on it further, but the nuclear industry’s failure to take its responsibilities seriously in this way is notable. Indeed, until the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority was set up there was no national plan to deal with waste at all. It has done a great job trying to quantify the level of the situation—of course, we have seen bills and disposal costs go up and up year on year—but it is a really important point and I am grateful to the noble Baroness for bringing her amendments to the attention of the House.

Photo of Lord Callanan Lord Callanan Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

I thank noble Lords for their contributions to what will hopefully be the final grouping on this Bill. I thank all the hardy souls who have lasted throughout the Committee and Report stages to get to this final stage.

Let me start with Amendment Neville—you can tell it is the final stage; the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord McNicol, is what I should have said. Why did I say that? In my mind, they sounded the same: Lord McNicol and Amendment 11.

Let me state to the noble Lord that I share his ambition to maximise the chances that a nuclear RAB project will commence or continue generation in the unlikely event of an insolvency, therefore preventing sunk consumer costs. It is for this very reason that we have introduced a special administration regime for nuclear RAB projects, with the aim of ensuring that consumers reap the benefits of the low-carbon electricity generated from a nuclear power station which they helped to build. In light of Amendment 11, I consider that it would be helpful to provide the noble Lord with a clear explanation as to the exit routes available to a special administrator under this legislation, and how these would not impinge on the ability to bring a nuclear power station under public control, if that is in the best interests of consumers and taxpayers.

Let me first reaffirm that special administration is a court-administered process and a nuclear administrator would be an officer of the court. It is the nuclear administrator, under the supervision of the court, who would be tasked with exploring all viable options for ensuring that the objectives of the administration are met. This is supported by the Secretary of State, who is able to provide funding and does have options for bringing the administration to an end in certain circumstances, as I will now explain.

The first route available to the administrator is that the company is rescued as a going concern. This is the preferred option for achieving the objective, save in certain circumstances, and would ensure that normal service was resumed and the plant would continue construction or generation. If this is the case and the objective can be achieved, then the Secretary of State, Ofgem or the administrator may then apply to the courts to end the special administration order.

Should this not be feasible, the administrator’s second option would be to seek to transfer the company’s assets and liabilities to a privately or publicly owned company or companies. This is called an energy transfer scheme and is provided for by Schedule 21 to the Energy Act 2004, as applied by Clause 33 of the Bill. While the Secretary of State must approve an energy transfer scheme, the court retains overall responsibility for the process as it appoints the time from which a scheme would take effect.

It is considered that, as the nuclear administrator will need to achieve the objective of the administration order as quickly and efficiently as possible, in practice this may mean that an energy transfer scheme is explored immediately if this is the most viable means to achieve the objective of the administration. This may be supported by the Secretary of State where, amongst other matters, it is in the public interest.

Should neither of the options I mentioned be possible or in the best interests of taxpayers or consumers, Section 40 of the Energy Act 2004 would establish the option of a nuclear transfer scheme. This is subject to approval from Her Majesty’s Treasury and is intended to deal with circumstances where, for example, during the plant’s operational phase, for reasons of public safety or to minimise the costs to the taxpayer, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is given responsibility for decommissioning the plant.

I hope that that has satisfied the noble Lord, that he has found the explanation useful and, most importantly, that it has reassured him that Part 3 of the Bill does nothing to prevent the Secretary of State bringing a nuclear power station under the control of a government-owned company, if this is considered to be in the best interests of consumers and taxpayers. The flexibility afforded to the special administrator ensures that the best option should always be taken, and this includes bringing the plant under government control, if that is in the best interests of consumers and taxpayers.

Amendments 13 and 14 were tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Bennett. As I said in previous debates, there is already a robust and effective statutory regime in place under the Energy Act 2008, which addresses the decommissioning costs of new nuclear power stations. I am therefore happy to reassure the noble Baroness that it is a legal requirement for the prospective operators of all new nuclear power stations to have an approved funded decommissioning programme in place before nuclear-related construction can begin on site. I share the view of the noble Baroness that making provision for the costs of decommissioning should be a transparent process. It is therefore the intention, as was done for the Hinkley Point C project, that any approved FDPs for nuclear RAB projects will be published on the GOV.UK website, save for any material of a sensitive nature.

Amendment 12 was tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Ravensdale, and I also thank my noble friend Lady Neville-Rolfe for her contribution. Let me make it clear that, as the noble Lord, Lord McNicol, helpfully reminded us, the Government think that nuclear should play a crucial part in decarbonising the UK’s energy sector and supporting a resilient system, as I said in reply to my noble friend Lord Howell.

The Government have stated our commitment to new nuclear in the Prime Minister’s 10-point plan, the nuclear energy White Paper and, more recently, the Government’s net-zero strategy. I am particularly grateful—although it is obviously late on a Thursday afternoon—to the noble Lord, Lord McNicol, for approvingly quoting the Prime Minister, but the Prime Minister did state, in November 2021, the Government’s intention to consult on classifying nuclear energy as a green investment under the UK’s green taxonomy, which is designed to drive investment into key low-carbon companies and industries.

My noble friend Lord Trenchard talked about the green financing framework. Eligibility under the framework is not a determinant of what the Government consider to be green. That is the role of the UK taxonomy. Nuclear energy is a proven energy-dense technology, which can complement intermittent renewables by providing large volumes of firm power, while using very little land. Nuclear energy has a clear basis for making a sustainable contribution to the taxonomy’s objective of climate change mitigation. Classifying nuclear as a green investment would allow billions to flow into this essential technology. This consultation will be published in the coming months, ahead of the aim to legislate by the end of the year. I hope noble Lords accept that I cannot pre-empt the outcome of that consultation process. As such, it would not be appropriate to require taxonomy alignment under this Act.

Once again, I thank noble Lords and Baronesses for their scrutiny and engagement with these critical elements of the Bill and on nuclear’s broader role in meeting our decarbonisation targets. However, I hope I have alleviated their concerns and that they will therefore not press Amendments 11 to 14.

Photo of Lord McNicol of West Kilbride Lord McNicol of West Kilbride Deputy Chairman of Committees 6:00 pm, 24th March 2022

My Lords, I am really looking forward to reading Hansard tomorrow and I compliment the Minister on hiccuping his way through the whole of his response, as with his introduction.

I thank the Minister for his detailed explanation and response to my Amendment 11 and for committing those words to your Lordships’ House. I also thank all other noble Lords for their participation in the debate, especially the noble Baroness, Lady Neville-Rolfe, on the next steps. Hinkley has been a good start; RAB, if this measure makes it through both Houses, is a vast improvement on CfDs; and, hopefully, Sizewell will be another step forward. But there is still more to do. The noble Baroness’s mention of SMRs and future large-scale civil nuclear developments is important. With that, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 11 withdrawn.

Amendment 12 not moved.

Clause 44: Commencement

Amendments 13 and 14 not moved.