Alok Sharma under fire as nuclear industry claim they have been banned from Cop26

Up to 15 applications from nuclear-related bodies are understood to have been rejected by Mr Sharma's COP26 Unit in the Cabinet Office

By Edward Malnick, Sunday Political Editor for the Telegraph 28 August 2021

Alok Sharma has come under fire for preventing a series of nuclear bodies from displaying exhibits at the Cop26 climate change summit.

In an open letter to Boris Johnson's minister in charge of the event, global nuclear industry leaders revealed that "every application" so far to put on nuclear-related exhibits or events at the UN summit had been rejected.

The move comes despite senior Tories insisting that nuclear energy, including investing in a new fleet of reactors, must form a significant part of Britain's plans to cut net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.

Craig Mackinlay, the chairman of the new Net Zero Scrutiny Group of Conservative backbenchers, said: "The fact that these applications have been denied speaks volumes about the muddied thinking that underpins our domestic policy in this area.

"If Cop26 is serious about reducing carbon dioxide emissions, a fundamental existing industry and technology that could help achieve this has to be nuclear."

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Nuclear power plants currently produce about a fifth of Britain's electricity, but critics claim they are not as "low carbon" as they appear, partly due to greenhouse gas emissions involved in the lengthy construction process.

The Government, however, has stated that "new nuclear will play a crucial part in this government’s plans to achieve a secure, low-carbon, affordable energy future."

In June, Chris Skidmore, the former minister who oversaw the net zero legislation, said: "Boris Johnson is right to invest in Britain’s future as a “global science superpower”, yet for energy, this means going nuclear or go home. Unless we invest in a new fleet of reactors, we will face potential power shortages a decade from now as our existing fleet begins to shut down."

The Cop26 Unit said discussions were still ongoing to finalise the programme and list of exhibitors for the green zone.

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