Nuclear energy will be essential if the UK is to meet its greenhouse gas emission targets, a new briefing paper from Imperial College London concludes. However, it says the cost of new nuclear power plants needs to be reduced in order to make them more competitive with other clean energy forms. “Nuclear power is one of the largest sources of low-carbon electricity today,” according to the paper, titled The Role of Nuclear Electricity in a Low-Carbon World. “It has the potential to play a growing role in the future and its contribution may be indispensable if we are to meet climate change targets.” However, the paper – produced by Imperial College London’s Grantham Institute – suggests “cost is probably the most controversial aspect of nuclear power in the UK today”. It says the UK government’s decision to support the construction of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant is “a big risk”. But it notes that construction of the plant “also represents a crucial opportunity for the conventional nuclear industry, which has been under significant financial stress, to rebuild itself.” The briefing paper says the nuclear industry needs to complete the Hinkley Point C project successfully and “to drive down the cost of subsequent stations in the following programme of orders. Otherwise the future of large-scale nuclear power in the UK, and perhaps elsewhere in the West, is in doubt”.
World Nuclear News 31st July 2018 read more »