Former Powergen executive John Hart, who stood down yesterday as the West Midlands Business Council Chairman, says nuclear power could be good news for the West Midlands
Nuclear power is the future. That’s according to Tony Blair in the Government’s Energy Review.
Businesses across the West Midlands region know that this conclusion makes sense. In an unstable world – with a global interdependent economy – security of energy supplies is absolutely critical. With carbon free technology, nuclear power can also help with reducing the impact of climate change.
The possibility of problems with the continuation of energy supplies, particularly in cold spells, is a worrying concern for West Midlands manufacturers – combined with the increase in the cost of energy while firms try to reduce margins to remain competitive.
Consistent energy supplies hold together the global economy. With the UK being the world’s fourth richest country, we cannot be behind the curve when it comes to nuclear power.
However, nuclear is not just good for the global economy – it can be a goldmine for West Midlands’ manufacturers.
Ever since my days at Powergen – before I moved on to the West Midlands Business Council – the opportunities for the West Midlands, if the Government gave the nod to nuclear, were always crystal clear.
Ministers would want the nuclear industry to be secure and not susceptible to global shenanigans. That would mean there would be a vital need to develop nuclear parts and equipment here in the UK. And the ideal location for those services to be developed would be here in the West Midlands. Not only do we have a strong and healthy manufacturing base but we can quickly and efficiently service nuclear plants around the country.
With our region becoming the engineering and manufacturing base of the nuclear industry, this would help power Britain – with the economic advantages for the Midlands proving to be significant.
However, as with all good developments, we would have to get our homework right first. In particular, we would need to develop specialist skills provision to service the needs of the nuclear industry.
All this is no mean feat but I would urge businesses and public agencies to think long and hard about the opportunities and what we can do together to make this possibility a reality.
By going nuclear we could nudge up prosperity for people across the Midlands.