The committee said that many of Britain’s nuclear experts are nearing retirement age and are not being replaced. "As a result, we are in danger of placing ourselves in a position where we will be unable to ensure a safe and secure supply of nuclear energy up to 2050," said committee chairman Lord Krebs
The report calls on government to set up a long-term strategy for the sector, including support for research and development work. It advises ministers to set up an independent board drawn from industry, academia and government to improve coordination.
Krebs said the government should take steps now to ensure that there is a new generation of experts, together with research and development activity in areas such as radioactive waste disposal, to keep the nuclear programme on track. "Without action now, in our view, the government’s nuclear energy policy simply lacks credibility," he said.
Nuclear power currently provides around 12GW, or 16 per cent, of UK power supplies. The committee pointed to estimates that 20GW to 38GW of nuclear capacity is likely to be needed if the UK is to secure an 80 per cent reduction in 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, in line with international targets.
Nuclear Research and Development Capacities can be read here.