HC Deb 24 November 1986 vol 106 cc9-10
9. Sir Trevor Skeet

asked the Secretary of State for Energy when he proposes to authorise the construction of further power stations.

Mr. Goodlad

The only application to construct a power station currently before my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy is for Sizewell B, and he intends to make a decision on that as soon as possible after he receives the inspector's report.

Sir Trevor Skeet

Is my hon. Friend aware that by the year 2000 AD there will be a shortage of generating capacity in the United Kingdom unless stations are authorised in the 1980s? Will he persuade my right hon. Friend to get ahead and order both nuclear power stations and several coal-fired power stations?

Mr. Goodlad

As my right hon. Friend has said, he intends to lose no time in reaching a decision on Sizewell. The Central Electricity Generating Board is considering the possibility of building new coal-fired stations. My right hon. Friend has received no applications to construct new power stations apart from Sizewell. The CEGB has identified a number of possible sites for future coal-fired stations but has made no firm decisions as to where they will be sited.

Mr. Lofthouse

Before the Secretary of State commissions any more nuclear power stations, will he first examine the cost of de-commissioning such power stations? Before there are any more commissions, will be ensure that the true cost of generating electricity by nuclear-powered stations includes their de-commissioning? When the true cost is revealed, we may find that using fossil fuel is the cheaper way of generating electricity.

Mr. Goodlad

The cost of de-commissioning power stations is provided for in the CEGB's accounts.

Mr. Patrick Thompson

Can my hon. Friend confirm that the usage of nuclear power in the European Community is 35 per cent. and rising, and that any decision to curtail this programme would lead to critical pressure on resources and serious implications for the Community?

Mr. Goodlad

My hon. Friend is absolutely correct.

Mr. Orme

On the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Gateshead, East (Mr. Conlan), is the Minister aware that there is an urgent need for the immediate ordering of two coal-fired power stations? The demand is there, so why wait for Sizewell? Why not get ahead with two coal-fired stations now?

Mr. Goodlad

The Government fully appreciate the importance of maintaining the capability of the industry during a period of a lack of home orders, and they have provided considerable aid and support for the industry to win overseas contracts to help maintain its capability. However, ordering is essentially a matter for the CEGB.