The UK must commit to 10GW of new nuclear power to reach net zero by 2050, but costs need to fall. That’s according to a new analysis by innovation agency Energy Systems Catapult, which suggests nuclear power is important for the UK’s future energy system and emphasises committing to a further 10GW of new nuclear beyond Hinkley Point C is a ‘low regrets option’ but notes more needs to be done to effectively address the high cost of deployment. The report notes any efforts to meet net zero without new nuclear power could put the UK Government’s 2050 target at risk and would likely make the shift to a low carbon economy significantly more expensive – it even goes as far as to suggest as much as 50GW of nuclear may be needed by 2050 in order to help decarbonise heat and hydrogen production, if the sector manages to reduce costs. It suggests that over the next five years, the government must support ‘stage-gated development programmes’ for UK deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs) and advanced Gen IV reactors.
Energy Live News 18th June 2020 read more »
Wind alone too risky – UK needs nuclear hydrogen to hit 2050 net-zero goal: study. Nation may need up to 50GW of nuclear with next-gen technologies allied to H2 output, claims government-backed Energy Systems Catapult. The UK can’t rely on wind power alone and needs large-scale next-generation nuclear capacity linked to hydrogen production to be sure of hitting its 2050 net-zero emissions target, claimed a government-backed research group. Achieving net-zero without nuclear is “possible but risky”, according to a new study from the UK’s Energy Systems Catapult (ESC). Britain could need up to 50GW of additional nuclear capacity by mid-century to be certain of decarbonising sectors such as transport and heating, reckons the report Nuclear for Net Zero, which examines the technology’s potential role in meeting the nation’s legally-binding 2050 target, against the background of a doubling of power consumption by then. Its scenarios include allying advanced ‘Gen IV’ high-temperature nuclear plants with hydrogen production, which the study’s authors said may open new possibilities for cheaper, more efficient production of zero-carbon H2, either by providing power for electrolysis or through thermo-chemical processes that don’t need electricity at all. “Compared with other routes of supply to expand the hydrogen economy, such as more steam methane reformation capacity with CCS (requiring more land-based offsetting via increased forestation or biomass) or more low temperature electrolysis energised by additional renewables, advanced nuclear has the potential for greater energy density, lower costs, and much reduced land take,” said the report. The nuclear sector reckons its large-scale projects can tackle the baseload and intermittency dilemmas faced by wind and solar, with emerging technologies such as the small modular reactors under development by Rolls-Royce claiming they are on track to get power costs into renewables territory.
Recharge 18th June 2020 read more »