‘No new nuclear power? No net zero!’

A new report suggests the UK must restore nuclear capacity to at least 10GW by the early 2030s if it wants to reach net zero by 2050

The Big Zero report

The UK needs to restore nuclear capacity to at least 10GW by the early 2030s if it wants to reach net zero by 2050.

That’s according to a new report by the Nuclear All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), which suggests that urgent action is needed to preserve the UK’s nuclear skills base, since the biggest part of Britain’s nuclear fleet will retire by March 2024.

The report’s recommendations urge the government to support Sizewell C in 2o22 and introduce policies to enable the deployment of a fleet of Small Modular Reactors and an Advanced Modular Reactor demonstrator.

APPG also calls on policymakers to commit to at least one additional gigawatt-scale nuclear power plant by the middle of 2024.

The report estimates that, if delivered, these steps would create more than 90,000 jobs in the UK and save more than 30 million tonnes of emission per year by 2035.

The authors of the report predict that without new investment in nuclear power, the UK will lose nearly 30% of its clean energy generation.

That would lead the country to depend more on fossil fuels and imported power to fill the gaps in power generation.

More strikingly, the report predicts without government backing on nuclear power, carbon dioxide emissions will be 200 million higher by 2035.

Ian Liddell-Grainger MP, Chair of the APPG, said: “The nuclear industry delivers for the UK. Here in the South West, we have seen at Hinkley Point C what new nuclear means on the ground: thousands of new jobs, hundreds of new apprenticeships, massive upskilling and billions of pounds invested into the local economy.”

Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said: “Only nuclear can replace nuclear. With urgent action from Government, the industry is ready, willing and able to provide firm power capacity, through large and small reactors designs, to cut emissions and create good jobs across this country.”

Gary Carter, GMB National Officer, said: “GMB Union is backing the case for new reactors because the UK needs a balanced energy policy and without new nuclear there can be no net zero.

“The UK is facing a serious skills shortage and new nuclear projects which train upskill the workforce are vital to the construction industry in the UK.”

A BEIS spokesperson said: “New nuclear will play a crucial part in this government’s plans to achieve a secure, low carbon, affordable energy future.

“We are committed to the future of new nuclear energy, as illustrated by the construction of Hinkley Point C; our plans to reach a final investment decision on at least one large-scale nuclear power station by the end of this Parliament and our pledge to fund new nuclear technology, such as small and advanced modular reactors.”

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