Is the UK’s Plan to Build a Nuclear Power Plant Every Year Realistic?
The current energy situation poses some important questions for politicians as they wrestle with the worst cost-of-living crisis for over a decade. In the second half of 2021, wholesale energy prices rose rapidly, with further increases following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Market analysts predict the Energy Price Cap, which shields consumers from the worst of the rises, could reach over £3,000 in October 2022, so finding a clean and cheap solution to the need for energy is now a priority.
Nuclear energy has the potential to produce an abundance of cheap electricity for homes and businesses without dependence on fossil fuels, but the set-up costs for nuclear power plants are astronomical, raising questions about the feasibility of widespread investment into new nuclear power stations.
Reliable, Safe, And Clean
Describing nuclear power as a ‘reliable, safe, and constant source of clean energy, outgoing PM Boris Johnson has committed to the construction of a new nuclear plant every year. Currently, the UK has eight operational nuclear power plants, which provide nearly one-fifth of the country’s electricity.
Under government plans, by 2050 the UK’s nuclear power output will be increased to 24 gigawatts, through the building of an additional eight power plants, commencing with Sizewell C in Suffolk, which recently received formal approval. This will increase electricity output to the National Grid by approximately 25 per cent. Is this pledge realistic? Under pure public funding, probably not, but with most of the funding for Sizewell C being (controversially) provided by French energy giant EDF, the precedent may be set for productive public-private funding partnerships to deliver further developments in the near term.
The Advantages Of Nuclear Power Generation
There is a strong precedent for nuclear power around the world. Although Germany has (again, controversially) decommissioned its nuclear power plants, France, Ukraine, Slovakia, and Belgium all produce over one-half of their electricity in this way.
What makes nuclear power a realistic option for the UK’s future energy needs, as opposed to wind, solar, and other sustainable alternatives?
- Nuclear power is one of the most low-carbon sources of energy.
- It is becoming more cost-effective.
- A constant reliable power source.
- Nuclear energy has a very low carbon footprint.
- Therefore, it achieves superior value without impacting negatively on the environment.
- Investing in the new generation of nuclear power plants will also create employment opportunities, increase investment in the UK, and support the economy at a crucial time in the recovery from the global pandemic.
The challenge for the UK is to build the skill set to deliver a new nuclear power infrastructure – with the right momentum and investment in the industry, perhaps we could build a new plant every year.
Contact Sensonics For More Information
At Sensonics, we provide specialised instrumentation solutions for nuclear power plants, including seismic protection and event recording.
To find out more about our services, please contact us today on 01442 876833.