Press Releases

Hinkley Point C key to South West clean power goals

03 February 2021

Nuclear output alongside renewable generation required to reduce emissions

A net zero grid in South West England will rely on new nuclear capacity at Hinkley Point C, according to analysis conducted by the Nuclear Industry Association of 2020 daily figures published by the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO).

South West England’s electricity had a mean daily carbon intensity of 201g CO2 per kWh, and met the UK’s 2030 electricity decarbonisation target of 50-100g on less than 20% of days. The South West had hit the target on 47% of days while Hinkley Point B Nuclear Power Station was generating this year, but on just one day after both reactors were placed on outage in early June.

The South West has long relied on nuclear power for clean, reliable electricity: Hinkley Point B has produced more clean electricity and saved more emissions, 105 million tonnes, than any other single power station in Britain. The station, however, will move to decommissioning next year after 46 years of service.

Since electricity demand is projected to double by 2050 as well, a major expansion of zero-carbon generation will be necessary to achieve a net zero grid in the South West. Hinkley Point C, at 3.2 GWe, will do just that. When operational, the two reactors will be the largest in Europe, saving nine million tonnes of emissions annually and providing enough power each year for six million homes across Britain.

Commenting on the analysis, Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said,

“Nuclear power, in partnership with renewables, is essential to reaching net zero. To do that, we need to build new nuclear power stations urgently alongside renewable capacity. Hinkley Point C should represent just the beginning of a programme of nuclear construction to realise the net zero vision in the Energy White Paper and 10 Point Plan. Nuclear investment delivers major emission reductions and secures tens of thousands of skilled, high-quality jobs across the supply chain: that is what we need to kickstart a green recovery and our transition to a green economy.”

The Climate Change Committee estimated in its Sixth Carbon Budget that without new projects, zero-carbon generation will fall from 130 TWh in 2020 to just 90 TWh in 2030 because of nuclear fleet retirements.


Notes to Editors

  • Full statistical annexes are provided alongside this release.
  • National Grid ESO Control Room publishes daily updates here: showing the carbon intensity of the grid in different parts of Great Britain. Northern Ireland is not part of the National Grid.
  • Nuclear power has saved over 1 billion tonnes of carbon emissions in the UK over the lifetime of the industry, more than any other electricity source.
  • Hunterston B, Hinkley Point B, Heysham 1 and Hartlepool nuclear power stations are all scheduled to move into defuelling by the end of March 2024, representing more than 4 GW of nominal generating capacity.

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About the Nuclear Industry Association

As the trade association for the civil nuclear industry in the UK, the Nuclear Industry Association represents more than 250 companies across the UK’s nuclear supply chain.

For further information, please contact:
Lincoln Hill
Director of Policy and Communications, the Nuclear Industry Association
44 (0)7554 701533