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Nuclear Power is on the Horizon

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The last few years have been an exciting, yet scary and unknown time for the nuclear industry. After decades of inaction under various governments the coalition announced a major initiative to see new nuclear power station construction.

Following that was the hammer blow of Fukishima (the Japanese nuclear power station that ran into difficulties after the earthquake/tsunami).

More recently the pull out of the German energy giants E-On and RWE NPower from UK Nuclear has given rise to yet another debate on the future of our energy policy.

As ever the luddites have jumped on the move as evidence that we can solve all of our energy problems with some small scale onshore wind farms. Whilst others have expressed genuine fear that the aim of a building a fleet a 21st century nuclear power stations could be derailed. Both are wrong.

We must remember that E-On and RWE's UK subsidiary Horizon Nuclear Power has not disappeared; in fact much of the work which is underway is still going ahead. This is because Horizon is up for sale and there are a number of reasons to believe it will be bought out.

Firstly, we must understand the background the E-on'sto E.ON and RWE's decision. After Fukishima a paranoid German government massively scaled back Nuclear Power production. This has seriously affected both the Horizon shareholders and has led to a reassessment of their investment options.

Secondly, Horizon Nuclear is not a bad investment; nothing could be further from the truth. For a whole range of reasons - not least the two excellent sites they own and the team of nuclear professionals they have pulled together - Horizon could be seen as a very attractive investment.

A simple look around the world's potential investors suggests that there are a number of organisations that could have both the money and the desire to take this project forward.

Thirdly, the government is determined to see more nuclear development; they see it as vital to the future of UK Energy Supply. It is hard to imagine a scenario where Horizon is liquidated, only for the government to encourage someone else to take on its two sites only to then spend years reassembling the 130 experts Horizon already have.

The truth is Horizon's problems are not their own, they're the parent companies problems. Horizon remains a viable investment with the solid support of the government (and for that matter the opposition). Anyone who thinks they've worked for years, assembled sites and begun reactor procurement just to shut up shop at the first sign of trouble are very much mistaken.

Consider this in addition to the fact that EDF and Centrica are going ahead with their developments at Sizewell, Hinkley Point and later on at places like Heysham (in my constituency). It's hard to see a scenario where new Nuclear doesn't play a major part in UK energy production.

The truth is that we need an energy mix in this country. Constituencies like mine cannot be built over with onshore wind and we ought not to rely on gas from unstable regimes. Nuclear has its part to play and it will feature in our energy future. I believe that Horizon's two sites will be built but I think to get there we have to show the whole world that the government and for that matter the opposition are committed to their success.

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