Nuclear 'could create 40,000 jobs'

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The nuclear industry could create up to 40,000 jobs in the UK over the next 20 years, according to estimates by the Government as it launched a strategy for the sector.

The Business Department said that globally there will be £930 billion invested in building new reactors and £250 billion in decommissioning those coming off line.

Ministers announced £15 million for companies and universities carrying out research into nuclear technology, £12.5 million for a reactor test programme being carried out in France, and changes to the National Nuclear Laboratory.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "There are huge global opportunities that the UK is well placed to take advantage of in the nuclear industry. Our strong research base will help develop exciting new technologies that can be commercialised here and then exported across the globe.

"The nuclear industry presents significant multibillion pound long-term opportunities for UK companies and for thousands of high value jobs. We have worked with industry on a plan for the future to ensure we are well placed to grasp those opportunities.

"We have some of the finest workers, research facilities and academics in the world. But we need to sharpen those competitive advantages to become a top table nuclear nation."

Energy Secretary Edward Davey said: "Nuclear and other forms of low carbon power mean highly-skilled jobs, sustainable growth, and the lasting legacy of a UK supply chain.

"We need all our energy options in play in the fight against climate change, and to keep the lights on in a way that is affordable to consumers. Not just this decade, but to 2050 and beyond."

Greenpeace policy director Doug Parr said: "In 2010, the Climate Change Committee identified the low carbon technologies the UK should develop and deploy in order to become world leading. The list included offshore wind and marine energy. It did not include nuclear. Yet ministers seem intent on straining themselves to keep nuclear alive, whilst allowing proven technologies like wind to labour.

"With the cost of offshore wind predicted to be on par with or cheaper than nuclear by 2020, there is no rationale for distorting policy to prop up the nuclear dinosaur."

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