Up to 15 applications from nuclear-related bodies are understood to have been rejected by Mr Sharma’s COP26 Unit in the Cabinet Office
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.”
Mr Sharma had invited businesses and other groups to “bring climate action to life” with events, displays and workshops at the Glasgow Science Centre, which will host COP26’s so-called “green zone” in November. The area will be open to the public, while world leaders meet in a UN-run “blue zone”. The criteria for applications to put on exhibitions and events in the green zone included those “showcasing innovation helping to tackle global climate change”.
But 15 applications from nuclear-related bodies, including trade and research associations, are understood to have been rejected by Mr Sharma’s COP26 Unit in the Cabinet Office.
They included an application involving the World Nuclear Association, which represents the global nuclear industry, to put on an exhibition featuring a life-size model of a nuclear reactor.
The trade body will still send delegates to attend events in the blue zone, after their applications were approved by the UN.
But in an open letter to Mr Sharma, Sama Bilbao y León, director of the World Nuclear Association, said: “We are deeply concerned about the news that every application on nuclear energy for the Green Zone at the upcoming COP26 conference has been rejected.
“We hope this is not indicative of how nuclear will be treated at COP26 as a whole. We would therefore urge you and the other organisers of COP26 to treat nuclear energy fairly and to ensure that it is well represented alongside other low carbon energy sources, in line with the recommendations made by numerous expert organisations.”