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UK Government warns developing nuclear project may add to energy bills

By Branwen Jones

The UK Government Secretary for Business and Energy has warned that building nuclear power plants may cause an increase in household bills. During his visit to north Wales on Thursday, Kwasi Kwarteng said that during the early stages of building a reactor it would "add at most a few pounds a year to a typical household", but in the longer term, it would provide us with "cheaper power".

Mr Kwarteng, alongside UK Energy Minister Greg Hands visited the Wylfa site on Anglesey on Thursday to launch their £120 million Future Enabling Fund, which saw the government pledge to build a nuclear power reactor on the site. The fund aims to unlock and accelerate new nuclear technologies, while also encourage new investment in the market.

Read more: An extra 36 new Senedd Members are to be created as Wales' Parliament grows

It has been created to support the UK Government's ambitious target to approve eight new reactors by 2030, as part of their commitment to the British Energy Security Strategy that was launched in April. During their visit to Anglesey, Greg Hands said that the Wylfa site had "enormous potential" as a nuclear power plant He added: "There will be a process and our ambition is to build out to have 24GW by 2050, which will be 25% of our electricity, with eight rectors approved before the end of this decade. That is a big ambition but one we have to meet."

Wylfa Nuclear Power Station (Getty Images)

During an interview with BBC News, Kwasi Kwarteng explained that nuclear was "part of the solution" to the UK's energy needs as it tries to reduce it reliance on oil and gas. When asked by BBC News whether putting bills up in the short term was worth the political gamble, Mr Kwarteng said: "Absolutely. People here really want to see new investment, jobs, opportunity for their kids and their community."

He added: "It might have a small effect, but if we're talking about, if you look at the hydrogen levy, we're talking about £30, on a bill over a year.

"Let's see what schemes come up. I mean I don't know, we've got this... Enabling Fund which is £120m and that's to attract billions of capital into this country. But I can't tell you exactly at what point those investments will be made."

"Any British energy minister has to look at domestic security, and that's what nuclear is about, and also sustainability. There is no doubt in the medium-term that will give us cheaper power.

"Now, I cant' tell you a precise date when your bills are going to be lower, because there are all sorts of other factors, determining the price. We could in a world in five years where oil prices or the gas prices are much higher than it is, it could be much lower, I can't predict that. But what I can say is that nuclear power gives us a firm, decarbonised, continuous electricity grown here or sourced here in the UK."

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Dive Deeper:
UK nuclear power plants may increase energy bills, says business secretary
A fleet of new nuclear power stations is at the heart of the Government's energy strategy
Rolls Royce SMR confirms North Wales and Cumbria are top targets for mini-nuclear plants
Rolls Royce SMR CEO Tom Samson came to Wylfa on Anglesey to discuss plans to roll-out Small Modular Reactors
Wylfa site 'has everything' says UK minister as nuclear fund launches and developers show interest
The £120 million Future Nuclear Enabling Fund is designed to unlock and accelerate new nuclear technologies
Tory nuclear push may drive up your energy bills, admits minister
THE Tory Energy Secretary has admitted the Government’s nuclear plans may increase household energy bills.
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Kwasi Kwarteng hails ‘nuclear renaissance’ as £120 million fund launched
The business secretary has hailed the start of “a British nuclear renaissance” as the government launches a new fund to…
Hinkley Point C nuclear plant could help households save £1bn a year on energy bills, says EDF
The French energy firm has issued a statement following comments by the business secretary over the cost to consumers of…
Get all your news in one place