UK nuclear leadership at risk without new investment
27 August 2021
Legacy begun at Calder Hall 65 years ago will fade without decisive action on financing
27 AUGUST – The UK will lose its long-established position as an international leader in nuclear technology without a new financing model to build new power stations.
Today marks 65 years since the UK connected the first commercial nuclear power station in the world, Calder Hall, to the national grid.
Since Calder Hall opened in 1956, nuclear power has saved the UK over 2.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, far more than any other electricity source. The saving is equivalent to all UK emission from the past six years (2015 through 2020).
However, most of the UK nuclear fleet will retire in the next two and a half years. Only one current station will remain by 2030. Without new investment, the UK will lose the critical skills base that has sustained the industry, emissions will rise, and fresh solutions for clean power, clean hydrogen and clean heat will be closed off.
Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said:
“The UK’s legacy of nuclear innovation shows how this industry can deliver clean energy for our climate goals and good jobs for our communities. The Government urgently needs to introduce a new financing model for nuclear, so we can build new stations and seize the opportunities of a green economy for the next generation.”
Notes to Editors
- Hunterston B, Hinkley Point B, Heysham I and Hartlepool nuclear power stations are all scheduled to retire by the end of March 2024, representing more than 4 GW of nominal generating capacity. Hunterston and Hinkley Point B will be in defuelling by mid-2022.
- Of the existing fleet, only the Pressurised Water Reactor at Sizewell B, with 1.2 GW of capacity, is scheduled to be operational after 2030.
- The UK’s seven operational nuclear power stations have a combined land footprint of less than 1 square mile.
- Nuclear is the second most important source of clean power in the UK currently, after wind. The UK is currently importing record amounts of power from Europe to meet its power needs.
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.
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Director of Policy and External Affairs