Nuclear power in the UK will be integral to meeting both future demand and carbon reduction targets, according to a study from a UK research group. The survey by three UK universities also identified nuclear as one of the safest sources of electricity, even when the radiological consequences of a large accident were taken into account.
The findings by the SPRing researchers, led by Manchester University, suggest nuclear offers mixed results: despite providing low-carbon energy, there may be considerable impacts on natural resources and the environment.
SPRIng found that meeting UK carbon emissions targets would only be possible with a huge expansion of both renewables and nuclear electricity. By 2020, renewables would have to contribute 55% to the UK electricity mix by 2020 and nuclear 35% by 2035.
However the study suggests there are unanswered questions surrounding the expansion of nuclear power, which SPRing says include the depletion of natural resources, ozone layer reduction, toxicity and health impacts from radiation.
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