Small Modular Reactors

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:03 pm on 20th February 2019.

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Photo of John Woodcock John Woodcock Independent, Barrow and Furness 5:03 pm, 20th February 2019

It is great to see you in the Chair, Mr Paisley. I congratulate my neighbour, Trudy Harrison, on securing this debate and on continuing to be a champion for the industry. It is great to work with her on that. It is good to see the Minister in his place. There were some doubts about that this time last week, and it is probably a good job the debate is happening this week, given everything else that is happening.

I endorse everything that has been said about small modular reactors. Fellside should be right up there at the forefront as a pathfinder for SMRs in this country. However I will use my brief time to say that while SMRs are absolutely necessary, they can never on their own be sufficient to solve the huge energy gap now opening up in our future.

The Minister and his boss are probably doing God’s work in trying to wrench the Government from total madness on the Brexit deal, but that illustrates the lack of focus across Government on our wider energy future at a critical time. We have the crisis derailing the Moorside deal, and Wylfa is in a very difficult patch. Where will our energy come from? We do not know what our relationships will be with other energy-producing nations in 10, 20 or 30 months’ time, never mind 10, 20 or 30 years. We have got to secure Britain’s future by securing our energy, and the only reliable way to do that is through UK nuclear energy.

I am sick of us going and pleading with other nations and things not quite going well. We see that everyone is working really hard but it does not quite get results. We need to get back into UK nuclear—not simply taking a stake, but taking the lead. Let us show the world that we, who created the fabulous nuclear energy in the 1950s in Cumbria, can do that again with a new nuclear revolution, led by Government and backed—I would imagine—by many Members here.