John Hutton says unit will push forward plans to build next generation of nuclear reactors

The government will set up a new Office of Nuclear Development to help press ahead with its plan to build new nuclear reactors, John Hutton announced today.

The business secretary told figures from the nuclear industry new power stations had to be up and running as quickly as possible in order to meet Britain’s energy commitments.

John Hutton, business secretary

He said: “To meet our energy goals, we must do everything we can to ensure new nuclear power stations are available as soon as possible.

“The UK government has the ambition and commitment to build and maintain the best market in the world for companies to do business in nuclear power.”

The new unit will operate from within the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), joining up the 40 staff already based there with other nuclear-focused teams across government.

The announcement came as environment secretary Hilary Benn published white paper Managing Radioactive Waste Safely, which outlines procedures for choosing sites to store nuclear waste.

UK communities will be invited to volunteer to host nuclear waste in “deep geological facilities”, with possible financial support offered to those that come forward.