Nuclear investment key to cleaner power for East of England
03 February 2021
Nuclear output essential to regional emissions reduction
The East of England requires substantially more investment in zero-carbon electricity to reach climate targets, according to analysis conducted by the Nuclear Industry Association of figures published by the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO).
The East of England missed the UK’s 2030 electricity decarbonisation target of 50-100g CO2/kWh on 70% of days, averaging 143g, because it has not built enough additional capacity to complement Sizewell B Nuclear Power Station. Sizewell B is the region’s vital source of clean power, producing almost 8.5 TWh of electricity in 2020, despite halving production from May to September, as National Grid managed lower demand during the pandemic. The station, one of the most productive in the country, saved almost three million tonnes of carbon emissions this year alone.
With electricity demand set to double by 2050, however, much more clean power generation will be required to reduce emissions. The construction of Sizewell C power station, which is planned to have 3.2 GW of generating capacity, would save an additional nine million tonnes of carbon per year and give the East of England some of the cleanest power in the country.
The East of England stands to gain further from the planned Bradwell B Nuclear Power Station in Essex. Once in operation Bradwell B would produce enough electricity to power around 4 million homes for at least 60 years, delivering thousands of low carbon jobs to the region.
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. Sizewell C is the vital next step towards the net zero power mix we need for the future, and Bradwell B will provide the extra capacity to drive decarbonisation across all sectors. These projects will secure at least 60 years of constantly available clean electricity and thousands of highly skilled, well paid and long-term jobs across the supply chain. That is how nuclear investment, as part of a robust zero-carbon mix, will 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: https://twitter.com/NGControlRoom 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.
- All of the UK’s 7 Advanced Gas-Cooled Reactor (AGR) stations are due to retire by 2030. Of the existing fleet, only Sizewell B, with 1.2 GW of capacity, is scheduled to be operational after 2030.
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:
Director of Policy and Communications, the Nuclear Industry Association
44 (0)7554 701533