Nuclear energy has become increasingly important in the Government’s energy plans. It was cited in the Ten Point Plan and, more recently, the British Energy Security Strategy went further with an ambition to deploy up to 24GW of nuclear power by 2050 – three times the current level. Government will need to address issues including financing, construction and decommissioning. Support for investment has already come in the form of the Nuclear Energy (Financing) Act 2022, although this has still to be tested in practice. In terms of construction, questions remain over the ability of the industry to construct third generation nuclear plant on time and budget with Hinkley Point C recently announcing further delays and cost increases. On decommissioning, the UK is still in the process of identifying a site for a deep geological disposal facility that would provide a long-term solution to nuclear waste disposal. Looking further ahead, there is uncertainty over the potential of technologies such as SMRs and fusion. This POSTnote will consider the current plans for building new nuclear plant in the UK and the potential of delivering the Government’s ambitions in this sector.

Work on this briefing will commence in September 2022.

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Image: Hinkley Point C by Simon Jones, under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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