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“Net zero” emissions targets not possible without multiple new nuclear power stations, say industry leaders

05 December 2019

Latest polling shows support for nuclear and renewable energy as part of UK energy mix

Leading nuclear industry figures will today call for a major programme of new power stations to hit ambitious emissions reduction targets.

The 19th Nuclear Industry Association annual conference in London will highlight the need for a proven, dependable source of low carbon electricity generation alongside growth in weather-dependent solar and wind power.

Without this, they argue, the country risks embedding a major reliance on carbon-emitting gas fired power stations for generations to come.

Annual public opinion polling released today to coincide with the conference revealed 75% of the population want the UK Government to take more action to reduce CO2 emissions.

The survey, conducted by YouGov in October 2019, has tracked opinion trends on nuclear for more than a decade.  It shows continued and consistent public support for an energy mix including nuclear and renewables, with 72% of respondents agreeing this was needed to ensure a reliable supply of electricity.

Nuclear power was also perceived as the most secure energy source for keeping the lights on, compared to other sources such as oil, gas, coal, wind power, fracking and solar power.

Last month both the Labour and Conservative Parties committed to new nuclear power as part of their election Manifestos. At the same time, 27 leading figures in the fields of environment, energy, and industry signed an open letter addressed to parliamentary candidates, which set out the benefits of nuclear and underscored the consequences of not, at least, replacing the UK’s current fleet of power stations.

The Nuclear Industry Association said there is no time to be lost in clarifying the ambition and the financing rules for new nuclear power which would bring down costs and unlock a major programme of investment.

Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the NIA, said “We have to grow the industry’s contribution to a low carbon economy. The independent Committee on Climate Change said earlier this year that we need a variety of technologies including nuclear power[1] to reach the UK’s Net Zero emissions target by 2050”.

“This is a proven, dependable, technology with lower lifecycle CO2 emissions than solar power and the same as offshore wind[2].  It is also an important economic engine for the UK, creating high quality direct and indirect employment for around 155,000 people.”

“Right now nuclear provides 20%[3] of all the UK’s electricity but all but one of our existing fleet will close over the next decade and power demand will only increase with a shift to electric heating and vehicles.”

“The countries and regions which have most successfully decarbonised, like Sweden, France and Ontario in Canada have done so by relying on nuclear.  You are not serious about tackling climate change if you are not serious about nuclear”.

The Nuclear Industry Association conference will be attended by 200 professionals from the UK and around the world, who will hear from all the major developers of the UK’s new nuclear power station projects, both large scale and small and advanced modular reactors. It will also cover decommissioning, nuclear industrial strategy, export opportunities and skills.

Speakers include Tim Stone, Chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association, Zheng Dongshan, Chief Executive of CGN UK, Stuart Crooks, Hinkley Point C Managing Director (EDF Energy), Duncan Hawthorne, CEO of Horizon Nuclear Power and many others.


Click here for NIA’s annual polling results
For a detailed conference agenda for Nuclear2019, click here
Read the open letter here
For more information on nuclear: #RediscoverNuclear 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

[1] In May 2019 the Committee on Climate Change said in its “Net Zero – Technical report”: “Power sector decarbonisation does not rely on variable renewables alone, but a portfolio of technologies including nuclear power”
[2] Lifecycle Carbon Emissions of Electricity Generation Sources – Energy for Humanity
[3] Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) 2019