Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of the UK’s EdF Energy has said that the UK could have new nuclear capacity in operation by the end of 2017.

Speaking at the Adam Smith Institute Nuclear Energy Forum de Rivaz added that the company was considering the possibility of taking part, most likely with partners, in building four new nuclear units in the UK in the years up to 2025. “I see no reason to believe that with focus and resolve we cannot achieve our goal by 2017,” he added.

He went on to say that he believes that the political and commercial arguments in favour of new nuclear generation had been won for three reasons: Carbon reduction, security of energy supply, and “a kind of tipping point” that the private sector has indicated it is ready to go without need for subsidies provided that there is an agreement on the funding of decommissioning and waste disposal, clear licensing and consent road map, and a credible carbon price.

However, citing a major national opinion poll commissioned by EdF Energy in which 63% of respondents supported new nuclear power stations as part of a wider strategy including renewables, de Rivaz warned that “there are still a large number of people who do not agree or are sceptical.” de Rivaz concluded that “We should not ask anyone to dream about nuclear, but just to be pragmatic.”