UK: Think tank argues for more nuclear construction

28 January 2021

Investment in at least one more commercial nuclear power plant is necessary to ensure that the UK can secure its energy supply without compromising efforts to combat climate change, according to a new report by the conservative Centre for Policy Studies.

The 55-page report, “Bridging the Gap: The case for new nuclear investment”, released on 21 January, says that to reach Net Zero, the UK needs to significantly decarbonise its power supply.
While the report said it could not accurately predict exactly how the energy sector will look like in 30 years’ time, “in the nearer term, some things are certain”. Electrification of the economy will increase with the power increasingly coming from zero-emission sources “such as onshore and offshore wind turbines, solar PV, and nuclear reactors” alongside improvements in energy storage, in the form of batteries and green hydrogen. Coal-fired power generation is redundant, and fossil gas will follow but renewables may not fully fill the gap.

“Therefore, we argue that the UK must commit to keeping its nuclear industry going, at least in the near-term. The government should be a champion of nuclear power, and recognise the potential it has to help deliver on its climate objectives and provide many other benefits.” This means “supporting the construction of one more nuclear power station by delivering a financing model which works for all parties concerned.”

The government has “mapped out a bold, big picture vision for how the energy will work in the future” but “it needs to start the process of making that a reality”. “As should be clear from the past few years, inaction simply stores up problems for later generations – something which makes neither economic, environmental, nor ethical sense.”

Photo:  EDF Energy