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 Does the UK need new nuclear plants like Sizewell C to reach net zero?

 Does the UK need new nuclear plants like Sizewell C to reach net zero?
With the cost of renewables and batteries plummeting, some academics argue
that the UK doesn’t need to build new nuclear power stations to achieve its
net zero goal.

Eight months ago, the UK government made a big bet on
nuclear, promising to treble the size of the country’s nuclear fleet
between now and 2050. Delivering on that promise would require huge
investment in both large-scale new nuclear plants and small-scale modular
reactors. This follows years of government delay and prevarication.
Ministers at the time told the public this push for nuclear was essential
to achieve the UK’s aim to have net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

That nuclear-fuelled zero-carbon future could now be in doubt, according to news
reports. A government official told the BBC that plans for the nuclear
power plant Sizewell C, which would supply around 7 per cent of the UK’s
electricity, are “under review” as the government looks to cut

The prime minister’s spokesperson later denied that it was
under review, saying that negotiations with private firms over funding were
ongoing and the government “hoped to get a deal over the line as soon as

However, some academics are questioning whether new nuclear is
even necessary. For years it has been energy orthodoxy to argue that
nuclear will be an essential component of the UK’s energy mix to meet its
net zero goal. Wind and solar would supply most of the country’s energy,
so the thinking went, but some back-up power would be needed for when the
wind doesn’t blow and the sky is cloudy. It is an argument broadly
accepted by the UK government, the Climate Change Committee that advises it
and, reluctantly, many environmental campaigners.

But that is now changing,
says James Price at University College London, author of a study published
in September that suggests the government’s backing for new nuclear is
“increasingly difficult to justify”

 New Scientist 4th Nov 2022


November 6, 2022 - Posted by | ENERGY, UK

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