Nuclear power is set to stay, for now. Announcing the UK’s nuclear energy strategy, the Government’s chief science advisor, John Beddington, revealed that nuclear energy will remain a key component in the UK energy sector. It is expected that nuclear will play a significant part in reaching the climate change targets and provide resilience in the power sector, presenting economic opportunities for the UK market.
Time and money has been heavily invested in building the UK nuclear power sector. With these new outlined plans the UK will reach a 75GW nuclear capacity by 2050, providing up to 86% of the UK’s electricity. Money will be invested throughout the entire sector including research facilities costing around £15 million, reactor programmes and training facilities, as within the next 10 years 70% of the current senior nuclear staff will be retired. 40,000 new jobs are expected to be created in the UK with the expansion of the nuclear power sector. The International Energy Agency has estimated that there’ll be around £930 billion invested in new nuclear reactors over the next 20 years, and £230 billion in decommissioning and waste storage.
Waste storage for nuclear power – which as outlined by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, must be in place before any new reactors can be built – has already faced its challenges. At the beginning of the year plans for a permanent disposal site in Cumbria was rejected by councils.