The Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) published a new report forewarning the risk of not achieving net zero in the UK unless there are new developments in the nuclear industry.
The Forty by ’50: A Nuclear Roadmap report by NIA states that a plan to deliver around 40% of UK power from nuclear sources by 2050 could help achieve net zero goals. Furthermore, by doing this, it could unlock a portfolio of projects that would produce immediate economic benefits and add a total economic value of £33 billion. In addition to this, the projects could also help other green industries such as the production of low carbon hydrogen and the deployment of local small modular reactors along with potentially adding 300,000 jobs.
With this in mind, the nuclear industry maintains that it will be hard for the UK to achieve net zero without developing new nuclear resources. Currently, nuclear contributes to 40% of the UK’s annual ‘clean electricity’ and with the new need for powering electric vehicles and heating systems, new nuclear capacity will be needed alongside renewables to ensure a ‘zero emission grid’.
Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, Tom Greatrex, added:
“Net Zero needs nuclear, and the sector is developing fast. The next large-scale projects are now deliverable much more cheaply by building on repeat and tried and tested designs, capturing learnings from our new build programme, and making important changes to the way projects are financed. We’re confident the price of nuclear power will fall from the £92.50 per Megawatt Hour for the first plant, closer to £60/MWh for the next wave of power stations reducing to around £40/MWh for further reactors. Greenlighting new projects already in the pipeline would trigger a ramp-up in investment and job creation in parts of the UK facing the biggest economic challenges and clear the way for long term decarbonisation through the hydrogen economy, helping establish the UK nuclear sector as global leader in the field. Commitment to the roll-out of smaller and advanced reactors would build on that momentum. Conversely, if we do nothing, we are effectively sitting on a winning hand for a greener future.”
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