HC Deb 20 February 1978 vol 944 cc995-6
18. Mr. Hardy

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the price of uranium used in estimating costs of current operations of thermal nuclear reactors; and what was the price paid or estimated one, three, five and seven years earlier.

The Minister of State, Department of Energy (Dr. J. Dickson Mabon)

In calculating its published figures for generation costs in respect of stations commissioned in the previous 12 years, the CEGB includes the price paid for uranium. This information is, however, a matter of commercial confidence between the Board and its suppliers.

Mr. Hardy

Given the growing demand, is it not to be expected that, during the next decade, the price of uranium will rise very sharply, if not dramatically? Have the Government taken full account of this possibility in their energy deliberations?

Dr. Mabon

Yes, Sir. In the departmental forecasts, prices are assumed to double by the end of the century.

Mr. Rost

As nuclear power is the only source of energy dependent on imported fuel, is the Minister satisfied that enough has been done to build up some more substantial strategic stockpile, particularly in view of potential rises in price?

Dr. Mabon

Yes, Sir. The price of the uranium currently being used by the Central Electricity Generating Board is much lower than the present world market price because it was purchased under contracts made some time ago. We have had discussions with various Governments about future contracts, and these are developing much more favourably than appeared to be the case before.

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