The London-based Nuclear Industry Association said the International Energy Agency confirmed in a report published today what many have been warning for years – that nuclear is the backbone of low-carbon electricity generation.
“Without it, we are likely to see a huge increase in CO2 emissions, and an increase in electricity bills for consumers,” the NIA said.
“While we back the IEA’s recommendation to authorise lifetime extensions of existing nuclear plants for as long as safely possible, the majority of the UK’s nuclear power plants have already undergone life extensions.
“That is why we need to urgently commit to new nuclear build now, or risk putting a halt to the great progress we have made on decarbonisation in the UK.”
The NIA said nuclear provides around a fifth of electricity in the UK, and around half of the low-carbon electricity. “However, with all but one of our nuclear power plants due to come offline in the next decade, we are at a critical point for nuclear,” it said.
The IEA report said the future of nuclear power is uncertain as ageing plants are beginning to close in advanced economies, partly because of policies to phase them out but also as a result of economic and regulatory factors. Without policy changes, advanced economies could lose 25% of their nuclear capacity by 2025 and as much as two-thirds of it by 2040.
“The lack of further lifetime extensions of existing nuclear plants and new projects could result in an additional four billion tonnes of CO2 emissions,” the report said.