Press Releases

Soaring fossil fuel use shows need for nuclear

26 November 2020

National Grid has issued its third warning in six weeks over Britain’s electricity supplies, as low renewable output and high demand have reduced spare capacity.

Today, gas and coal have generated nearly 70% of the UK’s electricity at times, the highest level of fossil fuel use in three months. Day-ahead auction prices for power reached £313.45/MWh on 26 November. At the same time, the nuclear fleet has been by far the leading source of zero-carbon generation.

Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said:

“It is unstable, unsustainable, and unaffordable to have a grid that relies so heavily on fossil fuels. These repeated warnings over our electricity supplies emphasise the urgent need for new low carbon capacity – including the nuclear power that provides a foundation of reliable, always-on, emissions-free power.

“The Government’s announcements supporting large and small-scale nuclear in the 10 Point Plan are crucial to breaking this cycle of higher prices and higher emissions. This is why it is urgent that Ministers provide details on the policy framework to enable the nuclear projects in the pipeline to be delivered.”

The Climate Change Committee has estimated that the UK will need to generate four times as much clean power by 2050 to meet the legal target of net zero emissions, and has recommended that 38% of our power should come from firm sources, that are always available and do not depend on weather conditions. Nuclear is the only source of zero emissions firm power in the UK proven at scale.


Notes to Editors

  • Nuclear power has saved more carbon emissions, over 1 billion tonnes, than any other electricity source in the UK over the lifetime of its operation.
  • All of the UK’s Advanced Gas-Cooled Reactors (AGRs) are due to retire by 2030. They account for 7.7 GW of nominal generating capacity. 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