Energy Security and Nuclear Non-Proliferation

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:58 pm on 1 July 2009.

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Photo of David Kidney David Kidney Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Energy and Climate Change 4:58, 1 July 2009

I am pleased to have this important debate under your watchful eye, Dr. McCrea, and I am sure that you will keep us in order throughout.

I congratulate my hon. Friend Mr. Reed on choosing this important subject, and on his obvious commitment to his constituents and his constituency, which he has demonstrated in the debate. He has, once again, ably shown the breadth and depth of his knowledge of these difficult and important issues, and his constituents can truly be proud of him.

It is a challenging business meeting society’s energy needs in a world of more than 6 billion people and with a UK population of more than 60 million. For the next half century at least, the population is predicted to grow, as is the demand for energy. Of course, it is part of the UK’s strategy to tackle climate change that we should seek to become more energy-efficient. However, demand for energy will clearly remain strong for the foreseeable future.

The UK has been a pioneer in the field of civil nuclear energy production, and our aim is to maintain our position at the forefront of the worldwide nuclear energy renaissance that we are witnessing. In the UK and many other countries, interest has grown in recent years because of the twin challenges of energy security and climate change. Much of the UK’s early work in this field took place in west Cumbria at the Sellafield nuclear site. The area in which Sellafield is located has a long and distinguished history of contributing to the development of nuclear energy. In May 1956, the first reactor was started at Calder Hall.

Sitting suspended for Divisions in the House.

On resuming