Press Releases

Nuclear and renewables show North West the path to net zero

03 February 2021

© EDF Energy

Nuclear power essential to emissions reduction

Nuclear stations and renewable output have given the North West amongst the cleanest power in England, according to analysis conducted by the Nuclear Industry Association of figures published by the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO).

North West England had a mean daily carbon intensity of 53g, higher only than North East England and Southern Scotland. The North West also hit the UK’s 2030 electricity decarbonisation target of 50-100g CO2 per kWh of electricity on almost 90% of days.

Heysham 1 and Heysham 2 Nuclear Power Stations have been essential to that effort, producing more than 15.5 TWh of electricity in 2020. Their output has made North West England once more the UK’s leading nuclear region, and saved more than five million tonnes of carbon emissions this year alone.

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. We should re-create what we have achieved in North West England across the country: getting nuclear and renewables working together to cut emissions. To do that, we need to build new nuclear power stations urgently alongside renewable capacity. Heysham 1 and Heysham 2 have been the backbone of clean power generation for decades, but by 2030, both will have retired. Nuclear investment, as part of a robust zero-carbon mix, will kick-start 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.
  • 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.

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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