26.02.2019_No40 / News in Brief

Nuclear Will Help Replace Fossil Fuels In UK, Says Gov’t Energy Plan

Policies & Politics

26 Feb (NucNet): The UK will see a gradual decline in fossil fuel-based generation to 2035, with capacity displaced by more renewables and new nuclear-based generation, the government’s draft integrated national energy and climate plan says.

Imports will increase in the medium-term, until new nuclear capacity reduces the need for this in the 2030s.

The plan, submitted to the European Commission under energy union rules agreed last year, says that in 2017 fossil fuels accounted for 80.1% of the UK’s energy supply – a record low level. The main fossil fuels used in the UK are coal, gas and oil.

However, the proportion of energy supplied from low-carbon sources is increasing and now accounts for 18.4%. Nuclear makes up the greatest share of these low carbon sources at 7.9% of energy supplies in the UK. The UK’s net import dependency has fallen 2.2% since 2015 but still accounts for 36% of energy supplies.

The UK has said it is committed to new nuclear, but its new-build targets are in doubt following recent decisions by Hitachi to suspend the Wylfa nuclear project in Wales and by Toshiba to wind up NuGen, the company overseeing plans to build three Westinghouse AP1000 units at Moorside in northwest England.

Both companies said problems finding the right financing model and agreeing terms with the government were a factor in their decision.

The only nuclear power station under construction in the UK is Hinkley Point, where two EPR units are being built. There are also plans for new reactors at Bradwell and Sizewell.

The energy plan says the government has committed £180m in funding for nuclear fission, with up to £20m over 2016-2018 to support innovation in the civil nuclear sector and up to £7m to ensure UK regulators are able to support the development of advanced nuclear technologies.

The UK plan is online: https://bit.ly/2UMyKWs

Related reports in the NucNet database (available to subscribers):

  • UK Energy Plans Sees Role For Nuclear In Replacing Fossil Fuels (News in Brief No.21, 30 January 2019)

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NucNet

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David Dalton

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