HC Deb 14 July 1976 vol 915 cc168-9W
Mr. Dempsey

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will make a statement as to BNFL's investment plans over the next 10 years, and the means of providing the capital required.

Mr. Benn

The company envisages gross capital spending of about £165 million over the next two years in relation to investment projects recently agreed by the Government. These involve a total investment of about £700 million over the next 10 years on its fuel cycle facilities, including extensions and improvements to reprocessing facilities for the home nuclear programme. Much of this investment will be financed from internal resources. Proposals for certain further investment on facilities for the home nuclear programme are still under consideration. In addition the company intends, subject to the availability of overseas business, to invest about £330 million in providing reprocessing facilities for overseas customers this investment will be customer financed.

The company expects to be able to cover a major part of its net capital requirements by borrowing in the private market. The Government propose to introduce legislation early next Session to provide the necessary power to guarantee the repayment of such borrowing by the company both as to principal and interest. The draft of an order was laid yesterday under Section 13 of the Atomic Energy Authority Act 1971 to raise the limit on Government capital advances to the company from its present level of £50 million to £75 million. This is to ensure that, given the uncertainty as to the amount and timing of loans from the private sector, there will be no risk of being unable to meet the company's capital requirements as they arise.