Labour and Conservatives back nuclear in the fight against climate change
25 November 2019
The country’s two largest political parties are backing nuclear power’s critical role in a low carbon future. The Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) today welcomed the news that both the Labour Party and Conservative Party are supporting nuclear energy in their recently released manifestos.
The Conservative party is committing to leading the global fight against climate change by delivering on net zero (where greenhouse gases produced are removed from the atmosphere) greenhouse gas emissions by 2050: “We will support gas for hydrogen production and nuclear energy, including fusion, as important parts of the energy system, alongside increasing our commitment to renewables.”
The Labour party said “new nuclear power is needed for energy security” and is committing to kick-starting a “green industrial revolution to create one million jobs in the UK…transforming our economy into one low in carbon, rich in good jobs, radically fairer and more democratic.” It also said it would work with the people of Ynys Môn (Anglesey) to maximise its potential for new nuclear energy, alongside investment in renewables.
Last week, the NIA released a ‘Priorities for Government’ document outlining the key steps to allow nuclear power to play its part in tackling the urgent climate challenge whilst creating jobs and skills for generations to come.
Tom Greatrex, the Chief Executive of the NIA, says: “There is an urgent opportunity for this Parliament to set in train the journey to net zero, as the UK embraces the environmental, economic and export opportunities of moving to a sustainable, low emissions future. Whichever party, or combination of parties, form the next government will have a formidable responsibility for real decarbonisation, of which nuclear will be an integral part.”
As the Committee on Climate Change and many others have said, in order to reach the UK’s “net zero” emissions target by the year 2050, we cannot rely on intermittent renewables alone, but a variety of technologies including nuclear power.
The most efficient and low-cost way to decarbonize is through a range of technologies, of wind, solar and stable nuclear power—but there must be a proper systems approach to delivering the lowest cost overall for the national economy.
The electricity map, which uses independent data, shows the carbon intensity of nations around the world—the lowest carbon economies countries across Europe all have nuclear energy in the mix. By investing in both renewables and nuclear, as these countries have done, we can also bring prosperity to the UK.
Nuclear power currently provides nearly half the UK’s low carbon electricity, some 20% of our electricity overall, powering 1 in 5 of our homes, hospitals and schools. It also creates prosperity: the industry directly employs around 60,000 people in the UK in long-term high-quality jobs.
A letter, signed by 27 leading figures in the fields of environment, energy, and industry, was also sent to all parliamentary candidates by the Nuclear Industry Association. It set out the benefits of nuclear and highlights the consequences of not at least replacing the UK’s current fleet of power stations.
The NIA is currently collecting signatures for a public call to support nuclear, to make the case to the next government.
The NIA will be releasing a round up guide on the various party’s approaches to energy, as manifestos are released.
Read the open letter here
Read the ‘Priorities for Government’ document here
Read the Labour Party’s manifesto here
Read the Conservative Party’s manifesto here
The NIA’s public pledge for support for nuclear here
Follow the NIA on Twitter @NIAUK and LinkedIn
For further information, please contact:
Hartley Butler George
Media and Communications Manager, Nuclear Industry Association
44 (0)20 7766 6646