EDF has announced preferred bidders for Hinkley Point C, with the contracts for larger components likely to go to French firms. How could UK industry participate more on future nuclear projects?
Last week’s poll can only be described as deeply inconclusive. Despite a reasonably strong response, with 772 readers completing the poll, by far the largest group, almost 70 per cent, voted for none of the options we had suggested; and although we deliberately ask people who have chosen the ‘None of the above’ response to explain their choice in comments, only one of the 528 indecisive respondents did so, which makes it impossible to draw any conclusions. The helpful respondent said that he thought UK firms should have nothing to do with nuclear new-build until all of the waste from pevious generations of reactors had been safeky disposed of, although hew didn’t add any thoughts on how this could be achieved to his satisfaction. Although it is of course possible that his feelings were shared by the other 527, it seems unlikely in the light of previous polls and articles on UK nuclear, so we simply cannot say what other options we should have included to get a more conclusive response (it might be worthwhile to say that we can only give a maximum of six options in our online polls).
Of the 244 respondents who did pick one of our suggested options, the largest group, 15 per cent, said that future UK nuclear should follow the pattern of previous reactor generations, using technology developed in the UK to draw on a British supply chain. Two options tied on 7 per cent: the renationalisation of the energy sector to ensure that UK companies benefit; and that the government should ensure that main contracts are placed with UK forms. A further 2 per cent noted that UK forging capacity needs to be expanded so that it can handle the large steel components neeeded for nuclear installations.