Senior civil servants have revealed that the government’s decision to build a new generation of civil nuclear power stations starting with Hinkley Point is linked to maintaining enough skills to keep Britain’s nuclear deterrent. The disclosure came at a hearing of the Commons Public Accounts Committee looking at the huge cost of building Hinkley Point power station which critics see as uneconomic and not properly costed. It was raised in a paper submitted to the committee by Professor Andy Stirling, Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, and Dr Phil Johnstone, from the Science Policy Research Unit, Sussex University, which questioned whether the Ministry of Defence is being subsidized by the civil nuclear industry. Stephen Lovegrove told the committee “I was in regular discussion with Jon Thompson, former Permanent Secretary at the MOD, to say that as a nation we are going into a fairly intense period of nuclear activity … We are building the new SSBNs (nuclear armed nuclear submarines) and completing the Astutes … We are completing the build of the nuclear submarines which carry conventional weaponry. We have at some point to renew the warheads, so there is very definitely an opportunity here for the nation to grasp in terms of building up its nuclear skills.
Tribune 22nd Oct 2017 read more »