UK Nuclear organisations urge more rapid nuclear development

12 August 2021

Following the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on 9 August and its warning of a “code red for humanity”, the UK Nuclear Institute said it agrees that “catastrophe can be avoided if the world acts fast”. Recognising the great ambition for nuclear energy to play a significant role in our future energy mix and its potential to catalyse investment in industry in the regions, as laid out by Government in the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan and the Energy White Paper, the NI is urging Government and industry to collaborate and “increase the pace” of nuclear deployment to reach Net Zero.

NI said: “We need to deliver on our ambitions for nuclear energy, through large scale, Small Modular (SMR) and Advanced Modular Reactor (AMR) deployment. It is widely accepted that all low carbon sources will be needed to tackle climate change successfully and the UK is ideally placed to lead the way. Progression on financing, siting and building the capability of the UK to deliver new reactors at pace is crucial to enabling a vision of a Net Zero world with reliable, firm, clean energy.”

Similarly, the UK Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) said the UK will not be able to meet prime minister Boris Johnson’s call to “consign coal to history and shift to clean energy sources” unless it invests more in nuclear power. Johnson made his comments following publication on the IPCC report. He described the latest warnings from UN scientists about the extent of the climate crisis as “sobering reading” that should provide the world with a wake-up call ahead of the Cop26 summit.

An NIA spokesperson said the UK is still highly dependent on fossil fuels and is currently on a 45-day coal burning streak. “We have not yet consigned coal, and fossil fuels, to history, because we have not invested enough in nuclear power,” a statement said. “Nuclear has played an integral part in reducing Britain’s use of fossil fuels, including coal, for decades, but by 2024, most of our current nuclear plants will have retired, signalling a huge loss of firm, clean power and putting our emissions reduction targets at greater risk. “The IPCC’s warning, therefore, underscores the stark urgency of investing in new low-carbon energy projects, including nuclear, to hit net zero,” NIA said.

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