Energy secretary Chris Huhne has insisted it is too early to tell if private investment in nuclear power will be affected by events in Japan.
Speaking at the Energy and Climate Change Committee’s inquiry into electricity market reform, Mr Huhne stressed the importance of focusing on the facts when reviewing safety at nuclear plants.
Mr Huhne has asked chief nuclear inspector Dr Mike Weightman to produce a report based on the events in Japan.
He also denied that fuel prices would rise in the UK as a result of the lack of energy in Japan, stating that lower economic activity in Japan would reduce energy demand and was unlikely to see price increases.
At an emergency meeting of the EU nuclear safety authorities, member states were urged to “re-think their nuclear strategies” and Germany has already halted production at seven nuclear plants in a three month moratorium on nuclear development.
Spain is believed to be reviewing security at its nuclear plants while protests have taken place against nuclear production in France.
However Mr Huhne told the committee: “I regret the fact some continental politicians do seem to be rushing to judgement on this before we’ve had proper assessment.”
European consultant with Frost&Sullivan, Enguerran Ripert told Construction News that the situation in Japan will have repercussions for UK nuclear build.
He said: “It will certainly have repercussions, firstly for PR reasons as the government will need to acknowledge it is taking the current disaster into account.
“All contracts now in the process of negotiations will have to be slowed down until public opinion can again accept that nuclear needs to be part of the power mix, and that electricity demand is such (combined with low carbon emission targets) that nuclear cannot be ruled out.”
Japan’s chief cabinet secretary and government spokesman Yukio Edano today reaffirmed that there is no immediate health risk around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
However Japanese Emperor Akihito made a rare appearance on television to say he is “deeply worried” about the scale of the crisis in the country, with more than 10,000 feared dead following the 9.0 earthquake last Friday.
A fire broke out at reactor four at the Fukushima plant for the second time in two days and staff were evacuated earlier today due to an increase in radiation levels but have now returned to work at the plant.