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Nuclear power in the United Kingdom generates 20% of the country's
electricity Electricity is the set of physical Physical may refer to: *Physical examination, a regular overall check-up with a doctor *Physical (album), ''Physical'' (album), a 1981 album by Olivia Newton-John **Physical (Olivia Newton-John song), "Physi ...

electricity
, . The UK has 13 operational
nuclear reactor A nuclear reactor, formerly known as an atomic pile, is a device used to initiate and control a fission nuclear chain reaction 300px, A possible nuclear fission chain reaction: 1) A uranium-235 atom absorbs a neutron">uranium-235.html" ;"ti ...

nuclear reactor
s at six locations (12
advanced gas-cooled reactor The Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor (AGR) is a type of nuclear reactor A nuclear reactor, formerly known as an atomic pile, is a device used to initiate and control a fission nuclear chain reaction 300px, A possible nuclear fission chain reacti ...
s (AGR) and one
pressurised water reactor A pressurized water reactor (PWR) is a type of light-water nuclear reactor A nuclear reactor, formerly known as an atomic pile, is a device used to initiate and control a fission nuclear chain reaction or nuclear fusion reactions. Nuclear rea ...
(PWR)), as well as
nuclear reprocessing Nuclear may refer to: Physics Relating to the nucleus of the atom: *Nuclear engineering Nuclear engineering is the branch of engineering Engineering is the use of scientific method, scientific principles to design and build machines, ...
plants at
Sellafield Sellafield is a large multi-function nuclear site close to Seascale Seascale is a village and civil parish on the Irish Sea coast of Cumbria, England, historically within Cumberland. The parish had a population of 1,747 in 2001, increasing ...

Sellafield
and the Tails Management Facility (TMF) operated by Urenco in
Capenhurst Capenhurst is a village and civil parishes in England, civil parish in Chester in the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester and the ceremonial county of Cheshire England. According to the United Kingdom Census 2001, 2001 Census, Capenhur ...
. The United Kingdom established the world's first civil nuclear programme, opening a nuclear power station,
Calder Hall Sellafield is a large multi-function nuclear site close to Seascale Seascale is a village and civil parish on the Irish Sea coast of Cumbria, England, historically within Cumberland. The parish had a population of 1,747 in 2001, increasing s ...
at
Windscale Sellafield is a large multi-function nuclear site close to Seascale on the coast of Cumbria, England. , activities at the site include nuclear reprocessing, nuclear fuel reprocessing, nuclear waste storage and nuclear decommissioning, and it is ...

Windscale
,
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
, in 1956. At the peak in 1997, 26% of the nation's electricity was generated from
nuclear power Nuclear power is the use of nuclear reaction In nuclear physics Nuclear physics is the field of physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), ...

nuclear power
. Since then several reactors have closed and by 2012 the share had declined to 19%. The older AGR reactors have been life-extended, and further life-extensions across the AGR fleet are likely. In October 2010, the
Cameron–Clegg coalition The Cameron–Clegg coalition was formed by David Cameron David William Donald Cameron (born 9 October 1966) is a British politician, businessman, lobbyist In politics, lobbying, persuasion, or interest representation is the act ...
gave permission for private suppliers to construct up to eight new nuclear power plants. The
Scottish Government The Scottish Government ( gd, Riaghaltas na h-Alba, ) is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved government of Scotland. It was formed in 1999 as the Scottish Executive following the 1997 Scottish devolution referendum, 1997 referendum on S ...
, with the backing of the
Scottish Parliament The Scottish Parliament ( gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba ; Scots language, Scots: ''Scots Pairlament'') is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved, Unicameralism, unicameral legislature of Scotland. Located in the Holyrood, Edinburgh, Holyro ...

Scottish Parliament
, has stated that no new nuclear power stations will be constructed in
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
. In March 2012, E.ON UK and
RWE npower Npower Limited (trading as npower) is a British supplier of gas and electricity to homes and businesses. It is a subsidiary of E.ON UK after being acquired in January 2019. It was formerly known as Innogy plc. As Innogy plc it was listed on th ...
announced they would be pulling out of developing new nuclear power plants, placing the future of nuclear power in the UK in doubt. Despite this,
EDF Energy EDF Energy is a British integrated energy company, wholly owned by the French state owned EDF (Électricité de France), with operations spanning electricity generation and the sale of natural gas Natural gas (also called fossil gas; so ...
is still planning to build four new reactors at two sites, with public consultation completed and initial groundwork beginning on the first two reactors, sited at
Hinkley Point Hinkley Point is a headland on the Bristol Channel The Bristol Channel ( cy, Môr Hafren) is a major inlet An inlet is an indentation of a shoreline, usually long and narrow, such as a small bay or arm, that often leads to an enclosed bo ...
in
Somerset ( en, All The People of Somerset) , locator_map = , coordinates = , region = South West England South West England is one of nine official regions of England The regions, formerly known as the government office regions, are the ...

Somerset
.
Horizon Nuclear Power Horizon Nuclear Power is a British Energy industry, energy company that was expected to build new nuclear power stations in the United Kingdom. It was established in 2009, with its head office in Gloucester, and is now owned by Hitachi. On 17 Jan ...
have plans for 4 to 6 new reactors at their sites, Wylfa and . Three reactors were also proposed at the
Moorside Nuclear Project Moorside nuclear power station is proposed for a site near Sellafield, in Cumbria, England. The original plan by NuGeneration, a British subsidiary of Toshiba-owned Westinghouse Electric Company, had the station coming online from 2024 with 3.4G ...
. An agreement has also been made which allows for Chinese-designed reactors to be built on the site of the Bradwell B nuclear power station. EDF Energy owns and manages the six currently operating and one de-fuelling reactor sites, with a combined capacity of about 9 GW. Six new plants are proposed to be built in the next few decades. All nuclear installations in the UK are overseen by the
Office for Nuclear Regulation The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is the regulator for the nuclear industry in the United Kingdom.
.


History


20th century

The
United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority is a UK government ga, Rialtas na Ríochta Aontaithe sco, Govrenment o the Unitit Kinrick , image = HM Government logo.svg , image_size=220px, date_established = , state = United Kingdom , add ...
(UKAEA) was established in 1954 as a statutory corporation to oversee and pioneer the development of nuclear energy within the United Kingdom. The first station to be connected to the grid, on 27 August 1956, was
Calder Hall Sellafield is a large multi-function nuclear site close to Seascale Seascale is a village and civil parish on the Irish Sea coast of Cumbria, England, historically within Cumberland. The parish had a population of 1,747 in 2001, increasing s ...
, although the production of
weapons-grade Weapons-grade nuclear material is any fissionable nuclear material Nuclear material refers to the metals uranium Uranium is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of at ...
plutonium Plutonium is a radioactive Radioactive decay (also known as nuclear decay, radioactivity, radioactive disintegration or nuclear disintegration) is the process by which an unstable atomic nucleus loses energy by radiation. A material co ...

plutonium
was the main reason behind this
power station A power station, also referred to as a power plant and sometimes generating station or generating plant, is an industrial facility for the generation A generation is "all of the people born and living Living or The Living may refer to: ...

power station
. Calder Hall was the world's first nuclear power station to deliver electricity in commercial quantities (although the 5 MW "semi-experimental" reactor at
Obninsk Obninsk (russian: О́бнинск) is a types of inhabited localities in Russia, city in Kaluga Oblast, Russia, located on the bank of the Protva River southwest of Moscow and northeast of Kaluga. History The history of Obninsk began in 1945 ...
in the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
was connected to the public supply in 1954). In February 1966 it was announced that the first prototype
fast breeder reactor A breeder reactor is a nuclear reactor that generates more fissile material than it fissile#Fissile vs fissionable, consumes. Breeder reactors achieve this because their neutron economy is high enough to create more fissile fuel than they use, by ...
in the United Kingdom would be constructed in
Dounreay Dounreay (; gd, Dùnrath) is a small settlement and the site of two large nuclear establishments on the north coast The coast, also known as the coastline or seashore, is defined as the area where land meets the ocean The ocean (al ...
, Scotland, at a cost of £30 million.
British Nuclear Fuels Limited British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL) was a nuclear energy Nuclear energy may refer to: *Nuclear power, the use of sustained nuclear fission or nuclear fusion to generate heat and electricity *Nuclear binding energy, the energy required to split a ...
(BNFL) was established in February 1971 from the demerger of the production division of the
UK Atomic Energy Authority The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority is a UK government research organisation responsible for the development of nuclear fusion power. It is an executive non-departmental public body of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Str ...
(UKAEA). In 1984 BNFL became a
public limited company A public limited company (legally abbreviated to PLC or plc) is a type of public company A public company, publicly traded company, publicly held company, publicly listed company, or public limited company is a company whose ownership is or ...
, British Nuclear Fuels plc, wholly owned by the UK government. In December 1979, in the wake of the industrial disputes of the
Winter of Discontent The Winter of Discontent was the period from November 1978 to February 1979 in the United Kingdom characterised by widespread strikes by private, and later public, sector trade unions demanding pay rises greater than the limits Prime Minister ...
and the
1979 oil crisis The 1979 Oil Crisis, also known as the 1979 Oil Shock or Second Oil Crisis, was an energy crisis An energy crisis is any significant bottleneck Bottleneck literally refers to the narrowed portion (neck) of a bottle A bottle is a narr ...
, the new Thatcher government announced a new long-term nuclear power programme. The existing state National Nuclear Corporation would complete its existing planned second generation AGR builds, and would develop a new programme of building one
Westinghouse Westinghouse may refer to: Businesses Current companies *Westinghouse Licensing, the brand management division of ViacomCBS, and licensees: **Westinghouse Electric Company, providing nuclear power related services **Westinghouse Electronics, wh ...
designed
Pressurised Water Reactor A pressurized water reactor (PWR) is a type of light-water nuclear reactor A nuclear reactor, formerly known as an atomic pile, is a device used to initiate and control a fission nuclear chain reaction or nuclear fusion reactions. Nuclear rea ...
(PWR) per year for at least a decade from 1982 (about 15 GWe in total). However, in 1981 the Select Committee on Energy and the
Monopolies and Mergers Commission The Competition Commission was a non-departmental public body In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegra ...
produced reports criticising the
CEGB The Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) was responsible for electricity generation, transmission and bulk sales in England and Wales England and Wales () is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four countries of ...
and government's demand forecasting and investment assessment justifying the programme. From 1982, after
Nigel Lawson Nigel Lawson, Baron Lawson of Blaby, (born 11 March 1932) is a British Conservative Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste (sociology), ...
replaced as
Secretary of State for Energy A secretary, administrative professional, or personal assistant A personal assistant, also referred to as personal aide (PA) or personal secretary (PS), is a job title describing a person who assists a specific person with their daily busines ...
, the government began rowing back from this large proposal, in part because the government were beginning to consider privatising the electricity industry. The
Electricity Act 1989 The Electricity Act 1989 (c. 29) provided for the privatisation of the electricity supply industry in Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it ...
provided for the privatisation of the electricity industry, introducing the Fossil Fuel Levy to support the nuclear power industry which was exempted from privatisation and vested in
Nuclear Electric Nuclear Electric was a nuclear power generation company in the United Kingdom. It was formed in 1990 as part of the privatisation process of the UK Electricity Supply Industry. In 1996, it was amalgamated into a new company – British Energy, w ...
. In the end, only the nuclear power plant from the PWR programme was built, between 1987 and 1995. It began producing power for the national grid in February 1995. Its construction followed a four-year, 16 million-word public inquiry. As of 2019 it is the most recent nuclear plant to be constructed in the United Kingdom. Sizewell B was intended to be the first of a smaller series of four new identical power stations, but the rest were dropped as uneconomic in the early 1990s when it was decided to privatise the electric power industry so low
interest rate An interest rate is the amount of interest In and , interest is payment from a or deposit-taking financial institution to a or depositor of an amount above repayment of the (that is, the amount borrowed), at a particular rate. It is disti ...
government finance would no longer be available. A
Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant The Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant, or THORP, was a Nuclear reprocessing, nuclear fuel reprocessing plant at Sellafield in Cumbria, England, now in the process of being decommissioned. THORP is owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and ...
(THORP) was opened at
Sellafield Sellafield is a large multi-function nuclear site close to Seascale Seascale is a village and civil parish on the Irish Sea coast of Cumbria, England, historically within Cumberland. The parish had a population of 1,747 in 2001, increasing ...

Sellafield
in 1994. Construction had begun in the 1970s and cost £2.4 billion. In 1996 the UK's eight most advanced nuclear plants, seven advanced gas-cooled reactors and one pressurized water reactor, were privatised as
British Energy British Energy was the UK's largest electricity generation company by volume, before being taken over by Électricité de France (EDF) in 2009. British Energy operated eight former UK state-owned nuclear power stations and one coal-fired power s ...
, raising £2.1 billion. The remaining Magnox reactors remained in public ownership as
Magnox Electric Magnox Ltd is a nuclear decommissioning Site Licence Company (SLC) under the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), a government body set up specifically to deal with the nuclear legacy under the Energy Act 2004. In September 2019, it became a d ...
. On 30 January 1998 Magnox Electric was merged into BNFL as BNFL Magnox Generation.


21st century


2002 Energy review

Margaret Beckett Dame Margaret Mary Beckett (' Jackson; born 15 January 1943) is a British politician who has served as Member of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the people who live in their constituency An electoral dis ...
as
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs A secretary, administrative professional, or personal assistant A personal assistant, also referred to as personal aide (PA) or personal secretary (PS), is a job title describing a person who assists a specific person with their daily busin ...
rejected demands for an expansion of nuclear power from a lobby including energy minister
Brian Wilson Brian Douglas Wilson (born June 20, 1942) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer who co-founded the Beach Boys. After signing with Capitol Records Capitol Records, LLC (known legally as Capitol Records, Inc. until ...
and Downing Street staff. She argued there was no need for new nuclear for at least 15 years given current energy prices and generation capacity. In relation to nuclear power, the conclusion of the Government's 2002 energy review was that: :''The immediate priorities of energy policy are likely to be most cost-effectively served by promoting
energy efficiency Energy efficiency may refer to: * Energy efficiency (physics), the ratio between the useful output and input of an energy conversion process ** Electrical efficiency, useful power output per electrical power consumed ** Mechanical efficiency, a ra ...
and expanding the role of
renewables Renewable energy is energy that is collected from renewable resources that are naturally replenished on a Orders of magnitude (time), human timescale. It includes sources such as sunlight, wind power, wind, rain, tidal power, tides, wave powe ...
. However, the options of new investment in nuclear power and in clean coal (through
carbon sequestration Carbon sequestration or carbon dioxide removal File:Tree planting closeup.jpg, Planting trees is a means of carbon dioxide removal. Carbon dioxide removal (CDR), also known as greenhouse gas removal, is a process in which carbon dioxide g ...

carbon sequestration
) need to be kept open, and practical measures taken to do this.'' The practical measures identified were: continuing to participate in international research; ensuring that the nuclear skill-base is maintained, and that the regulators are adequately staffed to assess any new investment proposals; shortening the lead-time to commissioning, should new nuclear power be chosen in future; permitting nuclear power to benefit from the development of carbon taxes and similar market mechanisms; and addressing the problems of long-term nuclear waste disposal. It went on to state that "''Because nuclear is a
mature technology A mature technology is a technology that has been in use for long enough that most of its initial Fault (technology), faults and inherent problems have been removed or reduced by further development. In some contexts, it may also refer to technol ...
within a well-established global industry, there is no current case for further government support''" and that "''the decision whether to bring forward proposals for new nuclear build is a matter for the private sector''".


2003 Energy White Paper

The Government's Energy White Paper, published in 2003 and titled "''Our Energy Future – Creating a Low Carbon Economy''" concluded that: :''Nuclear power is currently an important source of carbon-free electricity. However, its current economics make it an unattractive option for new, carbon-free generating capacity and there are also important issues of
nuclear waste Radioactive waste is a type of hazardous waste Hazardous waste is waste Waste (or wastes) are unwanted or unusable materials. Waste is any substance which is discarded after primary use, or is worthless, defective and of no use. A by-p ...
to be resolved. These issues include our legacy waste and continued waste arising from other sources. This white paper does not contain specific proposals for building new nuclear power stations. However we do not rule out the possibility that at some point in the future new nuclear build might be necessary if we are to meet our carbon targets''.


2006 Energy review

In April 2005, advisers to
British Prime Minister The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-highest official in the executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), b ...
Tony Blair Sir Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. On his resig ...

Tony Blair
were suggesting that constructing new nuclear power stations would be the best way to meet the country's targets on reducing emissions of gases responsible for
global warming Contemporary climate change includes both the global warming caused by humans, and its impacts on Earth's weather patterns. There have been previous periods of climate change, but the current changes are more rapid than any known even ...

global warming
. The
energy policy of the United Kingdom The current energy policy of the United Kingdom is the responsibility of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is a department Department may refer ...
has a near-term target of cutting emissions below 1997 levels by 20%, and a more ambitious target of an 80% cut by 2050. In November 2005 the Government announced an energy review, subsequently launched in January 2006, to "review the UK's progress against the medium and long-term Energy White Paper goals and the options for further steps to achieve them". Following the 2006 review the
Office for Nuclear Regulation The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is the regulator for the nuclear industry in the United Kingdom.
, an agency of
Health and Safety Executive The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is a UK government agency responsible for the encouragement, regulation and enforcement of workplace health, safety and welfare, and for research into occupational risk In simple terms, risk is the possib ...
, developed the Generic Design Assessment process (GDA) to assess new nuclear reactor designs ahead of site-specific proposals. The GDA started assessing four designs: Westinghouse
AP1000 The AP1000 is a nuclear power plant A nuclear power plant (sometimes abbreviated as NPP) is a thermal power station A thermal power station is a power station in which heat energy is converted to electricity. Typically, fuel is used to b ...
; Areva EPR; AECL ACR-1000; and GE-Hitachi
ESBWR The Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) is a passively safe generation III reactor, generation III+ reactor design derived from its predecessor, the Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (SBWR) and from the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor ...

ESBWR
. However the ACR-1000 and ESBWR were subsequently withdrawn from the assessment for commercial reasons, leaving the EPR and AP1000 as contenders for new nuclear builds.


2007 High Court ruling

On 15 February 2007, environmental group
Greenpeace Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning network. The network comprises 26 independent national/regional organisations in over 55 countries across Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, as well as a co-ordinating body, Green ...

Greenpeace
won a
High Court High court usually refers to the superior court In common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal ...
ruling that threw out the government's 2006 Energy Review. Mr Justice Sullivan presiding held that the government's review was 'seriously flawed', in particular in that key details of the economics of the argument were only published after the review was completed. Justice Sullivan held that the review's wording on nuclear waste disposal was "not merely inadequate but also misleading", and held the decision to proceed to be "unlawful". Responding to the news, Trade and Industry Secretary
Alistair Darling Alistair Maclean Darling, Baron Darling of Roulanish, (born 28 November 1953) is a British Labour Party (UK), Labour Party politician who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour Government 2007-2010, Labour Government from 2007 to 2 ...

Alistair Darling
said that there would be a fresh consultation, but that a decision was required before the end of 2007. He stated that the government remains convinced that new nuclear power plants are needed to help combat climate change and over-reliance on imported
oil An oil is any nonpolar In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers the Chemical element, elements that make up matter to the chemical compound ...

oil
and
gas Gas is one of the four fundamental states of matter In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space ...

gas
. Attention was drawn in the media to numerous connections to nuclear industry lobbyists within the Labour Party.


2007 Consultation

The 2007 Energy White Paper: ''Meeting the Energy Challenge''2007 Energy White Paper: Meeting the Energy Challenge
, '' Department of Trade and Industry'', published 23 May 2007, accessed 23 May 2007
was published on 23 May 2007. It contained a 'preliminary view is that it is in the public interest to give the private sector the option of investing in new nuclear power stations'. Alongside the White Paper the Government published a consultation document, ''The Future of Nuclear Power''The Future of Nuclear Power: Consultation Document
, '' Department of Trade and Industry'', published 23 May 2007, accessed 24 May 2007
together with a number of supporting documents. One of these, a report by Jackson Consulting, suggested that it would be preferable to site new power stations on existing nuclear power stations sites that are owned by the
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is a non-departmental public body In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardia ...
or
British Energy British Energy was the UK's largest electricity generation company by volume, before being taken over by Électricité de France (EDF) in 2009. British Energy operated eight former UK state-owned nuclear power stations and one coal-fired power s ...
. Greenpeace responded to the release of the consultation document by repeating its position that replacing the nuclear fleet rather than decommissioning would only reduce the UK's total carbon emissions by four percent. On 7 September 2007 several anti-nuclear groups including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, CND and the WWF announced that they had pulled out of the consultation process. They stated that it appeared as if the Government had already made up its mind regarding the future of nuclear power. The business and enterprise secretary, John Hutton, responded in a Radio 4 interview "It is not the government that has got a closed view on these issues, I think it is organisations like Greenpeace that have got a closed mind. There is only one outcome that Greenpeace and other organisations want from this consultation."


2008 go-ahead given

In January 2008, the
UK government ga, Rialtas na Ríochta Aontaithe sco, Govrenment o the Unitit Kinrick , image = HM Government logo.svg , image_size=220px, date_established = , state = United Kingdom , address = 10 Downing Street, London , leader_title = Prime Minister ...
gave the go-ahead for a new generation of nuclear power stations to be built. The
Scottish Government The Scottish Government ( gd, Riaghaltas na h-Alba, ) is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved government of Scotland. It was formed in 1999 as the Scottish Executive following the 1997 Scottish devolution referendum, 1997 referendum on S ...
has made clear that it opposes new nuclear power stations being built in Scotland and has the final say on planning matters in Scotland. Liberal Democrat spokesman
Steve Webb Sir Steven John Webb (born 18 July 1965) is a British people, British pensions commentator who was previously Liberal Democrats (UK), Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) for Northavon (UK Parliamen ...
MP said on 29 January 2008 "There is a real risk that focusing on new nuclear plants will undermine attempts to find a cleaner, greener, more sustainable and secure solution. We should be concentrating our efforts on renewables and greater energy conservation." On 10 January 2008,
Alan Duncan Sir Alan James Carter Duncan (born 31 March 1957) is a British Conservative Party Conservative Party may refer to: Europe Current *Croatian Conservative Party, *Conservative Party (Czech Republic) *Conservative People's Party (Denmark) *Con ...
MP issued a response to the Government's announcement on nuclear power, welcoming it and suggesting that the Conservatives supported a level economic playing field for different types of energy generation rather than a preference for one over another. Two consortia (EDF-Centrica and RWE-E.ON) had announced outline plans to build a total of 12.5GW of new nuclear capacity, slightly more than the total capacity of British Energy's currently operating plants. In 2009 government officials believed a
carbon price A carbon price — the method widely agreed to be the most efficient way for nations to reduce global warming Contemporary climate change includes both the global warming caused by humans, and its impacts on Earth's weather pattern ...
floor would be needed to encourage companies to commit funds to nuclear build projects.


2009 to 2011

In 2009
Électricité de France Électricité de France S.A. (literally ''Electricity of France''), commonly known as EDF, is a French multinational corporation, multinational electric utility company, largely owned by the French state. Headquartered in Paris, with €71.2 bil ...
(EDF), the state owned French energy company, took over
British Energy British Energy was the UK's largest electricity generation company by volume, before being taken over by Électricité de France (EDF) in 2009. British Energy operated eight former UK state-owned nuclear power stations and one coal-fired power s ...
, paying £12.5 billion. In August, 2009, the energy company
Centrica Centrica plc is a British multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a so ...
purchased a 20% share from EDF. A subsidiary of EDF was formed called
EDF Energy EDF Energy is a British integrated energy company, wholly owned by the French state owned EDF (Électricité de France), with operations spanning electricity generation and the sale of natural gas Natural gas (also called fossil gas; so ...
. In November 2009, the Government identified ten nuclear sites which could accommodate future reactors: Bradwell in Essex; Braystones in Cumbria; Kirksanton in Cumbria;
Sellafield Sellafield is a large multi-function nuclear site close to Seascale Seascale is a village and civil parish on the Irish Sea coast of Cumbria, England, historically within Cumberland. The parish had a population of 1,747 in 2001, increasing ...

Sellafield
in Cumbria;
Hartlepool Hartlepool () is a large port town in County Durham, North East England. It is the largest settlement and administrative centre of the Borough of Hartlepool. The town is located south-east of Newcastle upon Tyne, south-east of Durham, Engla ...

Hartlepool
in County Durham;
Heysham Heysham ( ) is a coastal town in Lancashire, England, overlooking Morecambe Bay. It is a Heysham Port, ferry port, with services to the Isle of Man and Ireland, and the site of two Heysham nuclear power station, nuclear power stations. Demogra ...
in Lancashire;
Hinkley Point Hinkley Point is a headland on the Bristol Channel The Bristol Channel ( cy, Môr Hafren) is a major inlet An inlet is an indentation of a shoreline, usually long and narrow, such as a small bay or arm, that often leads to an enclosed bo ...
in Somerset; in Gloucestershire;
Sizewell Sizewell is an English fishing village, fishing hamlet in the East Suffolk (district), East Suffolk district of Suffolk, England. It belongs to the civil parish of Leiston and lies on the North Sea coast just north of the larger holiday village ...
in Suffolk; and Wylfa in North Wales Most of these sites already have a nuclear power station; the only new sites are Braystones and Kirksanton. In October 2010, sites at Braystones, Kirksanton and Dungeness were ruled out by
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change was a British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Gre ...
Chris Huhne Christopher Murray Paul-Huhne (born 2 July 1954) is a British energy and climate change consultant and former journalist and politician who was the Liberal Democrats (UK), Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Eastleigh (UK Parliament const ...
with the former government's list of eleven potential sites reduced to eight. In 2010 the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre was created in
Rotherham Rotherham () is a large market Market may refer to: *Market (economics) *Market economy *Marketplace, a physical marketplace or public market Geography *Märket, an island shared by Finland and Sweden Art, entertainment, and media Films * ...
, South Yorkshire, led by the
University of Sheffield , mottoeng = To discover the causes of things , established = – University of SheffieldPredecessor institutions: – Sheffield Medical School , mottoeng = Art is long, life is short , established = 1828 – Sheffield School ...
with
Rolls-Royce Rolls-Royce (always hyphenated) may refer to: * Rolls-Royce Limited Rolls-Royce was a British luxury car and later an aero-engine manufacturing business established in 1904 in Manchester Manchester () is the most-populous city and metr ...
, anticipating involvement in any forthcoming new nuclear builds in the UK. It was funded with £15 million from the
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills , type = Department , logo = Department for Business, Innovation and Skills logo.svg , logo_width = 200px , logo_caption = , picture = File:Лондан. 2014. Жнівень 26.JPG , seal = , se ...
and £10 million from the regional development agency
Yorkshire Forward Yorkshire Forward was the regional development agency In the United Kingdom, regional development agencies (RDAs) were nine non-departmental public body, non-departmental public bodies established for the purpose of development, primarily e ...
.


2011 to 2017

Following the 2011
Fukushima I nuclear accidents The Fukushima nuclear disaster was a 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Ōkuma, Fukushima, Japan. The Proximate and ultimate causation, proximate cause of the disaster was the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsun ...
Chris Huhne Christopher Murray Paul-Huhne (born 2 July 1954) is a British energy and climate change consultant and former journalist and politician who was the Liberal Democrats (UK), Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Eastleigh (UK Parliament const ...
,
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change was a British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Gre ...
, wrote to Dr Mike Weightman, head of the HSE's Nuclear Directorate, on 12 March, asking for a report 'on the implications of the situation and the lessons to be learned for the UK nuclear industry.Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami: Implications for the UK Nuclear Industry
Chris Huhne,
Department of Energy and Climate Change The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) was a British government department created on 3 October 2008, by Prime Minister Gordon Brown James Gordon Brown (born 20 February 1951) is a British politician who served as Prime Min ...
, published 12 March 2011, accessed 29 March 2011
The report was to be delivered within 6 months, with an interim report by mid-May, 'prepared in close cooperation with the International nuclear community and other nuclear safety regulators'. On 15 March, Huhne expressed regret that some European politicians were 'rushing to judgement' before assessments had been carried out, and said that it was too early to determine whether the willingness of the private sector to invest in new nuclear plants would be affected.Uncorrected Evidence – Electricity Market Reform
Chris Huhne Christopher Murray Paul-Huhne (born 2 July 1954) is a British energy and climate change consultant and former journalist and politician who was the Liberal Democrats (UK), Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Eastleigh (UK Parliament const ...
,
Energy and Climate Change Select Committee The Energy and Climate Change Select Committee was a select committee of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, House of Commons in the Parliament of the United Kingdom that came into existence on 1 January 2009. Formation The House of Commo ...
, Uncorrected transcript of oral evidence, HC 742-vii, Tuesday 15 March 2011, accessed 11 March 2011
In the wake of the accident the Government was criticised for having colluded with EDF Energy, Areva and Westinghouse in order to manage communications and maintain public support for nuclear power. In January 2012, the campaign group Energy Fair, supported by a number of other organisations and environmentalists,http://www.energyfair.org.uk/news-releases/legal-bid
Legal bid to halt nuclear construction, Energy Fair, published 7 November 2011, accessed 20 January 2012
filed a formal complaint with the
European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the executive branch The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding Moral responsibility, responsibility for the governance of a State (polity), state. The executive executes a ...

European Commission
over alleged unlawful State aid in the form of subsidies for nuclear power industry, in breach of
European Union competition law European competition law is the competition law in use within the European Union. It promotes the maintenance of competition within the European Single Market by regulating anti-competitive conduct by companies to ensure that they do not create ca ...
. It claims that the subsidies arise from underwriting commercial risk and decommissioning costs, protection against terrorist attacks, the disposal of nuclear waste, and by providing 'institutional support' in the form of various government funded or subsidised bodies such as the
National Nuclear Laboratory The National Nuclear Laboratory (informally NNL, formerly Nexia Solutions) is a UK government ga, Rialtas na Ríochta Aontaithe sco, Govrenment o the Unitit Kinrick , image = HM Government logo.svg , image_size=220px, date_established = ...
, the
Nuclear Institute The Nuclear Institute is the professional body representing nuclear industry, nuclear professionals in the UK. It is a charity independent of the industry that promotes knowledge of Nuclear power, nuclear energy amongst its members and the public ...
, and
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is a non-departmental public body In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardia ...
without providing corresponding levels of support for renewable technologies,Nuclear Subsidies
Energy Fair, published November 2011, accessed 20 January 2012
without which nuclear power would not be commercially viable, so distorting the energy market. The group claims that the subsidies divert resources from renewable technologies that would 'cut emissions more deeply, more quickly, more cheaply, and with none of the risks and other problems with nuclear power'. In March 2012, two of the big six power companies announced they would be pulling out of developing new nuclear power plants. The decision by
RWE npower Npower Limited (trading as npower) is a British supplier of gas and electricity to homes and businesses. It is a subsidiary of E.ON UK after being acquired in January 2019. It was formerly known as Innogy plc. As Innogy plc it was listed on th ...
and
E.ON E.ON Societas Europaea, SE is a European electric utility company based in Essen, Germany. It runs one of the world's List of largest companies by revenue, largest investor-owned electric utility service providers. The name comes from the Greek ...
followed uncertainty over nuclear energy following the Fukushima nuclear disaster, which had occurred the year before. Their decision followed a similar announcement by Scottish and Southern Electricity the previous year. Hitachi purchased the Horizon Nuclear Power, Horizon joint-venture, intending to build two or three 1350 MWe Advanced boiling water reactors (ABWR) at and Wylfa. French-owned EDF, one of the two remaining consortia planning to build new nuclear plants in the UK, has indicated that the election victory of François Hollande will not change its plans in the UK, despite François Hollande having proposed to cut France's reliance on nuclear power generation from 75% to 50%, and despite speculation to the contrary in the UK. In 2012 Russian firm Rosatom stated that in the future it intended to certify the VVER-1200 with the British and U.S. regulatory authorities, though was unlikely to apply for a British licence before 2015, after having seen what agreements EDF finally reaches. In September 2013 Rosatom, in conjunction with Fortum and Rolls-Royce Group PLC, Rolls-Royce, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UK government to prepare for a VVER Office for Nuclear Regulation#Generic Design Assessment process, Generic Design Assessment. In 2013, Tim Yeo, chairman of the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee, stated that the government reaching an agreement over nuclear power expansion was a "matter of great urgency", and warned that Britain could run out of energy if negotiations were not concluded quickly. In the same year, a cross-party committee inquiry concluded that the UK "will not be able to meet its climate change targets without new nuclear build". A report published by the committee found that unless planned nuclear power plants are built on time, it will be "extremely challenging, if not impossible" for the country to meet its legally binding carbon reduction targets. Such a failure to build the new nuclear capacity by 2025 would also force a greater reliance on imported gas, and would affect energy security. On 26 March 2013, the government published a Nuclear Industrial Strategy which in part stated that the nuclear industry had plans for about 16 GWe of new nuclear power stations by 2030, which is at least 12 new nuclear reactors at five sites. A Nuclear Industry Council will be established, and a Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board will be created "to ensure that public R&D programmes are aligned to support industrial and energy policy." Public civil nuclear R&D funding for 2010/11 was £66 million, which is low compared to some international competitors. The government will join the European Jules Horowitz Reactor research project. In April 2013, EDF's negotiations with the government over the strike price for nuclear produced electricity stalled. EDF's chief executive stated EDF was "in no hurry" to agree the strike price, and was unconcerned if the negotiations failed. Commentators believed it would take several months to reach a conclusion. The Office for National Statistics assessed that in 2015 the UK nuclear industry directly employed about 12,400 staff, though about 9,400 of those worked at
Sellafield Sellafield is a large multi-function nuclear site close to Seascale Seascale is a village and civil parish on the Irish Sea coast of Cumbria, England, historically within Cumberland. The parish had a population of 1,747 in 2001, increasing ...

Sellafield
mostly on nuclear waste handling. As of 2016, EAEC had co-operation agreements of various scopes with eight countries: U.S., Japan, Canada, Australia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and South Africa.


Small modular reactor development

Rolls-Royce Rolls-Royce (always hyphenated) may refer to: * Rolls-Royce Limited Rolls-Royce was a British luxury car and later an aero-engine manufacturing business established in 1904 in Manchester Manchester () is the most-populous city and metr ...
is preparing a small modular reactor (SMR) design called the UK SMR, a close-coupled four-loop PWR design. Power output is 440 MWe which is above the usual range considered to be a SMR. It is seeking UK government finance to support further development. In December 2017 The UK government provided funding of up to £56 million over three years to support SMR research and development. In 2018 the UK SMR industry sought billions of pounds of government support to finance their putative FOAK, First of a Kind projects. The Expert Finance Working Group on Small Reactors produced a report stating that there was "a current market failure in supporting nuclear projects generally" and identifying options for government to support SMR development in the UK.


Brexit negotiations to present

On 26 January 2017, the UK notified the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) of its intention to withdraw, following on from its decision to Brexit, withdraw from the European Union. Leaving will have wide-ranging implications for Britain's nuclear industry, including regulation and research, access to nuclear materials and impacts about twenty nuclear co-operation agreements with non-EU countries. The UK withdrawal might raise the question of nuclear fuel availability after 2019 in the UK, and the need for the UK to enter into new treaties relating to the transportation of nuclear materials. In 2018, the National College for Nuclear was opened at two hubs at Bridgwater and Taunton College and Lakes College (West Cumbria), Lakes College largely funded by £22.5 million from the Department for Education, intended to service the building and operation of new build nuclear power plants. In November 2018, the UK ratified the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) framework international collaboration agreement for research and development of Generation IV nuclear reactors. In 2019, John Wood Group, Wood sold its nuclear business, mostly decommissioning work at
Sellafield Sellafield is a large multi-function nuclear site close to Seascale Seascale is a village and civil parish on the Irish Sea coast of Cumbria, England, historically within Cumberland. The parish had a population of 1,747 in 2001, increasing ...

Sellafield
, for £250 million to the US Jacobs Engineering Group, which has a global nuclear business. In 2020, Energy Systems Catapult analysis suggested new 10 GW nuclear power in order to achieve Carbon neutrality, net zero emissions by 2050. In June 2020, Zion Lights, spokesperson of Extinction Rebellion, Extinction Rebellion UK declared her support for nuclear energy as a critical part of the energy mix along with renewable energy sources and called fellow environmentalists to accept that nuclear power is part of the "scientifically assessed solutions for addressing climate change". In June 2021, EDF announced that Dungeness B would move into the defuelling phase with immediate effect, citing "station-specific risks within some key components, including parts within the fuel assemblies" identified since September 2018.


Power stations


Operating

Since 2006, Hinkley Point B and Hunterston B have been restricted to about 70% of normal MWe output because of boiler-related problems requiring that they operate at reduced boiler temperatures. In 2013, these two stations' power increased to about 80% of normal output following some plant modifications. In 2010, EDF announced a five-year life extension for both Heysham 1 and Hartlepool to enable further generation until 2024. In 2012, EDF announced it expects seven-year life extensions on average across all AGRs, including the recently life-extended Heysham 1 and Hartlepool. A 20-year life extension is the strategic target for the Sizewell B PWR. These life extensions are subject to detailed review and approval, and are not included in the table above. On 4 December 2012, EDF announced that Hinkley Point B and Hunterston B had been given seven-year life extensions, from 2016 to 2023. On 5 November 2013, EDF announced that Hartlepool had been given a five-year life extension, from 2019 to 2024. On 19 November 2020, EDF announced that Hinkley Point B will stop generating electricity and move into the defuelling phase no later than 15 June 2022. On 7 June 2021, EDF announced that Dungeness B, which had been in an extended outage since September 2018, would move into the defuelling phase with immediate effect.


Retired

A number of research and development reactors also produced some power for the grid, including two Winfrith reactors, two
Dounreay Dounreay (; gd, Dùnrath) is a small settlement and the site of two large nuclear establishments on the north coast The coast, also known as the coastline or seashore, is defined as the area where land meets the ocean The ocean (al ...
fast reactors, and the prototype Windscale Advanced Gas Cooled Reactor.


Economics


History

The history of nuclear energy economics in the UK is complex. The first Magnox reactors were not built for purely commercial purposes, and later reactors faced delays which inflated costs (culminating in Sizewell B taking seven years from start of construction to entering service, after a lengthy public inquiry). Costs have also been complicated by the lack of national strategy or policy for spent nuclear fuel, so that a mixed use of reprocessing and short-term storage have been employed, with little regard for long-term considerations (although a national repository has been proposed). There is a lack of consensus in the UK about the cost/benefit nature of nuclear energy, as well as ideological influence (for instance, those favouring 'energy security' generally arguing pro, while those worried about the 'environmental impact' against). Because of this, and a lack of a consistent energy policy in the UK since the mid-1990s, no new reactors have been built since Sizewell B in 1995. Costs have been a major influence to this (with Sizewell B having run at a cost of 6p/kWh for its first five years of operation), while the long lead-time between proposal and operation (at ten years or more) has put off many investors, especially with long-term considerations such as energy market regulation and nuclear waste remaining unresolved. An important indicator in electricity production is unit capability factor (UCF) which describes the percentage of energy actually generated against what could have been generated if unit was operated continuously at full power during the reference period. In 2018, UK nuclear power plants operated at the following UCF:


Future power stations

From 2010 until 2015, it was UK Government policy that the construction of any new nuclear power stations in the UK would be led and financed by the private sector. This transfers the running and immediate concerns to the operator, while reducing (although not eliminating) government participation and long-term involvement/liability (nuclear waste, as involving government policy, will likely remain a liability, even if only a limited one). In 2010 ''The Daily Telegraph'' reported that additional incentives, such as capacity payments and supplier nuclear obligations, would be needed to persuade companies to build nuclear plants in the UK. The government decided to subsidize nuclear power again in 2015. When the rest of the UK generating industry was privatisation, privatised, the Government introduced the Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation, initially as a means of supporting the nuclear generators, which remained under state ownership until the formation of
British Energy British Energy was the UK's largest electricity generation company by volume, before being taken over by Électricité de France (EDF) in 2009. British Energy operated eight former UK state-owned nuclear power stations and one coal-fired power s ...
. British Energy, the private sector company that operated the UK's more modern nuclear plants, came close to bankruptcy and in 2004 was restructured with UK government investment of over £3billion, although this has since been paid back in full. In January 2009, British Energy was bought for approximately £12billion by EDF Energy (a subsidiary of
Électricité de France Électricité de France S.A. (literally ''Electricity of France''), commonly known as EDF, is a French multinational corporation, multinational electric utility company, largely owned by the French state. Headquartered in Paris, with €71.2 bil ...
(EDF)) and
Centrica Centrica plc is a British multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a so ...
(a major operator of CCGT power stations and renewable sources in the UK and parent company of British Gas) in an 80/20 split. In January 2008, the UK government indicated that it would take steps to encourage private operators to build new nuclear power plants in the following years to meet projected energy needs. The government stated that there would be no subsidies for nuclear power. The Government hoped that the first station would be operational before 2020. However, the Welsh Government remains opposed to new nuclear plants in Wales despite the approval of Wylfa as a potential site.
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
has decided against new nuclear power stations. In May 2008, ''The Times'' reported that Wulf Bernotat, chairman and chief executive of E.ON, had stated that the cost of each new nuclear power plant in the UK could be as high as €6billion (£4.8billion), much higher than the Government's estimate of £2.8billion. The cost of replacing Britain's ten nuclear power stations could therefore reach £48billion, excluding the cost of nuclear decommissioning, decommissioning ageing reactors or dealing with nuclear waste. On 29 March 2012, E.ON and RWE npower, which had formed the joint venture Horizon Nuclear Power, Horizon to build NPPs in the United Kingdom, announced that they would not develop new nuclear power projects in the UK, focusing instead on shorter term investments, and were looking to find another company to take over Horizon. On 29 October 2012 it was announced that Hitachi would buy Horizon for about £700million. Hitachi intend to build two or three 1,350MWe Advanced boiling water reactors (ABWR) at and Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station, Wylfa, but will first require a ''Generic Design Assessment'' for the ABWR design by the
Office for Nuclear Regulation The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is the regulator for the nuclear industry in the United Kingdom.
, which will take about four years. In June 2012, in research commissioned by EDF, the Institute for Public Policy Research suggested that building 18GW of new nuclear energy capacity in the UK, with more than 10 new reactors, could create between 16,250 and 21,250 additional jobs, and enable the UK to compete in the international market for nuclear energy. The Institute of Directors also published a report stating that nuclear energy is a "clean, cheap and safe" way of generating electricity, with 84% of its members in favour of new nuclear power in Britain. However, ''The Times'' reported the cost of building each EPR had increased to £7billion, which Citigroup analysts did not regard as commercially viable, projecting a generation cost of 16.6p/kWh for private-sector financed reactors. On 21 October 2013, EDF Energy announced that an agreement had been reached regarding new nuclear plants to be built on the site of Hinkley Point C. EDF Group and the UK Government agreed on the key commercial terms of the investment contract. The final investment decision was still conditional on completion of the remaining key steps, including the agreement of the EU Commission. In 2015, the UK government proposed to provide large subsidies to the Hinkley Point C plant, paying twice the market rate for electricity. A 2015 Energy modeling, model-based study compares renewables plus storage, nuclear, and fossil fuels with and without carbon capture and storage. The study finds that, for the scenarios considered, costs were similar at about at up to 50% renewables and rose for renewables above an 80% share as Grid energy storage, grid-scale storage, imports, and tidal power, tidal range generation were applied.
Rolls-Royce Rolls-Royce (always hyphenated) may refer to: * Rolls-Royce Limited Rolls-Royce was a British luxury car and later an aero-engine manufacturing business established in 1904 in Manchester Manchester () is the most-populous city and metr ...
is preparing a small modular reactor (SMR) design called the Rolls-Royce SMR, a close-coupled four-loop PWR design. Power output is 440MWe which is above the usual range considered to be a SMR. As of 2017 Rolls-Royce was seeking UK government finance to support further development. In 2018, the UK government announced £56million of spending to fund initial SMR research and development for eight companies. In 2017, a consensus of government and industry developed that the Contract for Difference financing model used for Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, involving fully private sector financing, may not used for subsequent nuclear plants, and discussions with government are under way about alternative finance mechanisms for the following possible development at Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station, Wylfa by
Horizon Nuclear Power Horizon Nuclear Power is a British Energy industry, energy company that was expected to build new nuclear power stations in the United Kingdom. It was established in 2009, with its head office in Gloucester, and is now owned by Hitachi. On 17 Jan ...
for parent Hitachi. However, on 17 January 2019, Horizon announced that it was suspending its UK nuclear development programme. The UK government had been willing to take a one-third equity stake in the project, to consider providing all the required debt financing, and to provide a Contract for Difference for the electricity generated at up to £75/MWh for 35 years. Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, stated this was a "generous package of potential support that goes beyond what any government has been willing to consider in the past". However this did not provide an adequate "economic rationality as a private enterprise" for Hitachi to proceed. In April 2020, a director of Horizon Nuclear Power stated that the future of next two nuclear builds, Wylfa and Oldbury, depended on the government accepting the Regulated Asset Base (RAB) financial assistance model rather than the existing Contract for Difference support mechanism, which would allow developers to need less upfront private finance with some finance backed through end consumer bills. On 2 June 2020, EDF Energy announced that it had submitted a development consent order to the UK government prior to starting construction on the Sizewell C site in Suffolk. However EDF have yet to organise financing, and cannot take on more construction risk in the UK. EDF is looking to the UK government to assist on financing either by offering a Regulated Asset Base model, though that puts an immediate cost burden on end consumers, or through other approaches such as a government equity stake in the development. On 30 June, EDF announced that it had applied to the Office for Nuclear Regulation for a licence to build and operate Sizewell C. On 24 September 2020, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson was asked about new technology in the UK's fight against climate change, he reaffirmed support for nuclear power in the UK, by saying to the BBC, "I do think nuclear has to be part of the mix", whilst also saying that the UK can be the "Saudi Arabia of wind power".


List

Proposed nuclear power stations in the United Kingdom, with currently shelved proposals in italics, are: Two other sites,
Heysham Heysham ( ) is a coastal town in Lancashire, England, overlooking Morecambe Bay. It is a Heysham Port, ferry port, with services to the Isle of Man and Ireland, and the site of two Heysham nuclear power station, nuclear power stations. Demogra ...
and Hartlepool Nuclear Power Station, Hartlepool, were identified as possible locations in 2010 but no commercial proposals were made for these sites.


Moorside clean energy hub

Following the cancellation of the Moorside Nuclear Power Station, Moorside project by Toshiba, on 30 June 2020 EDF announced proposals to construct an EPR on the site. This would be a near replica of Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C in order to reduce the overall costs of the project. The plans come as a part of a proposed clean energy hub for the area which is backed by 14 other companies and trade unions including the UK construction firm Balfour Beatty and the union Unite. The consortium claims that 25,000 jobs will be created with the construction of the hub. The hub is also aiming to use existing nuclear supply chains within the area and also be the site of SMRs and AMRs in the future.


Sizewell C

The project has completed its stage 4 consultation, which is allowing EDF to submit its planning application which is expected to be at the start of 2020, before a decision is made on the plant's future in 2020. After this, construction is expected to start around 2021, with an accelerated timeline due to the replication of the Hinkley point C power plant on the site. On 27 May 2020, EDF energy put in a development consent order application, prior to the start of construction at the site.


Waste management and disposal

The UK has a large variety of different intermediate- and high-level radioactive wastes, coming from national programmes to develop nuclear weapons and nuclear power. It is a national responsibility to pay for the management of these. In addition, new nuclear power stations could be built, the waste management from which would be the private sector's financial responsibility, although all would be stored in a single facility.Waste plan revealed
/ref> Most of the UK's higher-activity radioactive waste is currently held in temporary storage at
Sellafield Sellafield is a large multi-function nuclear site close to Seascale Seascale is a village and civil parish on the Irish Sea coast of Cumbria, England, historically within Cumberland. The parish had a population of 1,747 in 2001, increasing ...

Sellafield
. , the 60-years long nuclear programme produced of high-level waste. The UK has approximately 70,000tonnes of irradiated Nuclear graphite, graphite, mainly as moderator in Magnox and AGR reactors. Most of its radioactivity will have decayed away 60-70 years after reactor closure, but its carbon-14 content is a long-term radiological hazard which can be released in gaseous form making it a large volume intermediate-level waste. Research on how to handle this waste is ongoing, which will lead to an informed decision on management. On 31 July 2006, the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM), published its final report on long-term waste management. Its main recommendation was that Deep geological repository, geological disposal should be adopted. This would involve burial of high-level waste at deep in a purpose-built facility with no intention to retrieve the waste in the future. It was concluded that this could not be implemented for several decades, and that there were "social and ethical concerns within UK society about the disposal option that would need to be resolved as part of the implementation process". Such a repository should start to be closed as soon as practicable rather than being left open for future generations. Fourteen additional recommendations were also made. On 12 June 2008, a white paper, ''Managing Radioactive Waste Safely, A Framework for Implementing Geological Disposal'' was published confirming CoRWM's conclusion of geologic disposal of higher-activity wastes. The policy announcement confirmed that there would be one geologic disposal site, for both national legacy waste as well as potential wastes from future programmes. It announced that a process of volunteerism would be used in selecting a suitable site and invited communities from the UK to express interest. They would be rewarded by the infrastructure investment for the facility, jobs for the long term and a tailored package of benefits. In January 2014, the building of the first Dry cask storage, dry spent PWR nuclear fuel store in the UK began at Sizewell B, where the existing spent fuel pool, which stores spent fuel under water, was expected to reach full capacity in 2015. It is intended to enable spent nuclear fuel produced from 2016 until at least 2035 to be stored at Sizewell B until a deep geological repository is available. In March 2017, the first cask containing spent nuclear fuel was installed.


Decommissioning


Responsibility

The
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is a non-departmental public body In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardia ...
(NDA), formed in April 2005 under the Energy Act 2004, oversees and manages the decommissioning and clean-up of the UK's older Magnox power plants and the reprocessing facilities at
Sellafield Sellafield is a large multi-function nuclear site close to Seascale Seascale is a village and civil parish on the Irish Sea coast of Cumbria, England, historically within Cumberland. The parish had a population of 1,747 in 2001, increasing ...

Sellafield
, which were transferred to its ownership from British Nuclear Fuels Ltd, BNFL, and the former nuclear research and development facilities previously run by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, UKAEA.


Sites

In August 2005, the following sites were listed for decommissioning: * Berkeley, Gloucestershire * Bradwell, Essex * Calder Hall, Cumbria * Capenhurst, Cheshire * Chapelcross, Dumfriesshire * Culham, Oxfordshire * Dounreay, Caithness * Drigg, Cumbria * Dungeness, Kent * Harwell, Oxfordshire * Hinkley, Somerset * Hunterston, Ayrshire * Oldbury, Gloucestershire * Sellafield, Cumbria * Sizewell, Suffolk * Springfields, Lancashire * Trawsfynydd, Gwynedd * Windscale, Cumbria * Winfrith, Dorset * Wylfa, Isle of Anglesey


Costs

Prior to the 2002 white paper ''Managing the Nuclear Legacy'', the cost of decommissioning these facilities had been estimated at around £42billion. The white paper estimated the costs at £48billion at March 2002 prices, an increase of £6bn, with the cost of decommissioning
Sellafield Sellafield is a large multi-function nuclear site close to Seascale Seascale is a village and civil parish on the Irish Sea coast of Cumbria, England, historically within Cumberland. The parish had a population of 1,747 in 2001, increasing ...

Sellafield
accounting for over 65% of the total.Managing the Nuclear Legacy
, page 18, Department of Trade and Industry, published 4 July 2002, accessed 1 June 2008
This figure included a rise in BNFL, BNFL's estimated decommissioning liabilities from £35billion to £40.5billion, with an estimate of £7.4billion for United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, UKAEA. In June 2003, the Department of Trade and Industry estimated that decommissioning costs, including the cost of running the facilities still in operation for their remaining life, were approximately £56billion at 2003 prices, although the figure was 'almost certainly' expected to rise.The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority: Taking forward decommissioning
page 18, National Audit Office (United Kingdom), National Audit Office, published 30 January 2008, accessed 1 June 2008
This estimate was revised in subsequent years; to £57billion in September 2004; £63billion in September 2005; £65billion in March 2006; and to £73billion in March 2007.The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority: Taking forward decommissioning
National Audit Office (United Kingdom), National Audit Office, published 30 January 2008, accessed 1 June 2008
Around £46 billion of the £73 billion is for the decommissioning and clean-up of the Sellafield site.The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority: Taking forward decommissioning
page 38, National Audit Office (United Kingdom), National Audit Office, published 30 January 2008, accessed 1 June 2008
In May 2008 a senior director at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority indicated that the figure of £73billion might increase by several billion pounds. In addition to The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's costs, British Energy, British Energy's liabilities in relation to spent nuclear fuels have risen. In February 2006, it was reported that these had increased to £5.3billion, an increase of almost £1billion. The costs of handling these is to be met by the Nuclear Liabilities Fund (NLF), the successor to the Nuclear Generation Decommissioning Fund. Although British Energy contributes to the NLF, the fund is underwritten by the Government. The British House of Commons, House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (United Kingdom), Public Accounts Committee noted in 2007 that British Energy may lack an incentive to reduce the eventual liabilities falling to the Nuclear Liabilities Fund.


Safety


Seismicity

Until the expansion of nuclear power in the 1980s, seismic activity in the UK had not received a great deal of attention.Seismicity and Earthquake Hazard in the UK
Roger Musson, British Geological Survey, published 25 June 2003, accessed 28 March 2011
As a result of the new interest in the topic, in 1994 the British Geological Survey published a catalogue of earthquakes. Although earthquakes are relatively frequent, they rarely cause damage to well-constructed structures. Two of the largest, estimated at approximately 5.75 (moderate) on the Richter magnitude scale, Richter scale occurred in 1382 and 1580. Evaluation of past earthquakes indicates that the UK is unlikely to be subject to earthquakes larger than a magnitude of approximately 6.5. The occurrence of tsunamis impacting the UK is rare, with only two (possibly three) having been identified; a 3m high wave as a result of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, and a 21m high tsunami in 6100 BC which occurred under very different geological conditions (Storegga Slide). In recent years there has been an accumulation of evidence indicating that the Bristol Channel floods, 1607, 1607 Bristol Channel floods may also have resulted from a tsunami that rose from a height of 4m to over 6m as it passed up the channel. A 2005 report for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, DEFRA, conducted following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, found that, discounting 'exotic events such as meteorite impacts', 'in most plausible circumstances it is likely that such an event would be contained by current defences, designed to resist storm surges, for all major developed areas', however the joint occurrence of events, such as a tsunami coinciding with a storm surge, was discounted. The report did, however call for additional more detailed modelling to be carried out, recommended that the Met Office should provide a tsunami warning service, and that detection devices should be upgraded. A follow-up report indicated that, of the three likely scenarios modelled, a Lisbon-type event would pose the greatest danger, potentially resulting in a tsunami wave exceeding the 1:100-year extreme sea level at the Cornish peninsula by up to 1.4m, but being within the range elsewhere. This conclusion is markedly different from the greater heights calculated by Bryant and Haslett as having been encountered in the Bristol Channel during the 1607 Bristol Channel floods. Speaking before the
Energy and Climate Change Select Committee The Energy and Climate Change Select Committee was a select committee of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, House of Commons in the Parliament of the United Kingdom that came into existence on 1 January 2009. Formation The House of Commo ...
on 15 March 2011, about the
Fukushima I nuclear accidents The Fukushima nuclear disaster was a 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Ōkuma, Fukushima, Japan. The Proximate and ultimate causation, proximate cause of the disaster was the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsun ...
, Energy and Climate Change Minister
Chris Huhne Christopher Murray Paul-Huhne (born 2 July 1954) is a British energy and climate change consultant and former journalist and politician who was the Liberal Democrats (UK), Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Eastleigh (UK Parliament const ...
expressed concern over extreme weather events in the UK, but stated that 'we are lucky that we do not have to suffer from tsunamis'.


Accidents


Security

The Civil Nuclear Constabulary is responsible for security at civil nuclear sites, within 5 km of site boundaries, and for nuclear materials in transit. The UK is involved in the Nuclear Security Summit series of world summits held since 2010. During 2016 the UK and the US staged a training exercise simulating a cyber-attack on a nuclear power station.


Public opinion and protests

In the early 1990s, concern was raised in the United Kingdom about the effect of nuclear power plants on unborn children, when clusters of leukemia, leukaemia cases were discovered nearby to some of these plants. The effect was speculative because clusters were also found where no nuclear plants were present, and not all plants had clusters around them. Detailed studies carried out by the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) in 2003 found no evidence of raised childhood cancer around nuclear power plants, but did find an excess of Leukemia, leukaemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) near other nuclear installations including Sellafield, Atomic Weapons Establishment, AWE Burghfield and UKAEA
Dounreay Dounreay (; gd, Dùnrath) is a small settlement and the site of two large nuclear establishments on the north coast The coast, also known as the coastline or seashore, is defined as the area where land meets the ocean The ocean (al ...
. COMARE's opinion is that "the excesses around Sellafield and Dounreay are unlikely to be due to chance, although there is not at present a convincing explanation for them". An opinion poll in Britain in 2002 by MORI on behalf of
Greenpeace Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning network. The network comprises 26 independent national/regional organisations in over 55 countries across Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, as well as a co-ordinating body, Green ...

Greenpeace
showed large support for wind power and a majority for putting an end to nuclear energy if the costs were the same. In November 2005, a YouGov poll conducted by business advisory firm Deloitte found that 36% of the UK population supported the use of nuclear power, though 62% would support an energy policy that combines nuclear along with renewable technologies. The same survey also revealed high public expectations for the future rate of renewables development – with 35% expecting the majority of electricity to come from renewables in only 15 years, which is more than double the government's expectation. In the early 2000s, there was a heated discussion about high-level radioactive waste management, nuclear waste, leading to the creation of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (see above). A large nationally representative 2010 British survey about energy issues found that public opinion is divided on the issue of nuclear power. The majority of people are concerned about nuclear power and public trust in the government and nuclear industry remains relatively low. The survey showed that there is a clear preference for renewable energy sources over nuclear power. According to a national opinion poll, support for nuclear power in the UK dropped by twelve percent following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. However, support recovered within a few months. In October 2011, more than 200 protesters blockaded the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station site. Members of several anti-nuclear groups that are part of the Stop New Nuclear alliance barred access to the site in protest at EDF Energy's plans to renew the site with two new reactors. In January 2012, three hundred anti-nuclear protesters took to the streets of Llangefni, against plans to build a new nuclear power station at Wylfa. The march was organised by a number of organisations, including Pobl Atal Wylfa B, Greenpeace and Cymdeithas yr Iaith, which are supporting farmer Richard Jones who is in dispute with Horizon. In July 2012, a YouGov poll reported that 63% of UK respondents agreed that nuclear generation should be part of the country's energy mix, up from 61% in 2010. Opposition fell to 11%.UK popular support for nuclear power rises -poll
, Reuters. (2 July 2012).
In February 2013, a Yougov poll published in the ''Sunday Times'' found that nuclear was the most popular choice to provide for Britain's future energy needs. In February 2013, a poll published by Ipsos MORI which queried 1046 British individuals determined that support for new nuclear generation capacity was at 42%, with the proportion opposed to new nuclear generation being reported as unchanged at 20%, close to the lowest recorded proportion, by the agency in 2010, of 19% opposed. The results also report that the proportion that was undecided or neutral had increased, and it stood at 38%. In 2013, a survey by Harris Interactive of more than 2,000 UK respondents found that 'one in four people (24%) considered nuclear power to offer the greatest potential' alongside solar (23%) and ahead of wind power (18%). Immediately following the announcement of the agreement between EDF and the UK government, 35% considered it to be a positive step, 21% felt it was a negative development and 28% were indifferent. The Green Party of England and Wales, Green Party programme postulates that "nuclear power, coal and incineration of waste will be phased out" (EN014), although this position is debated within the party, as a significant group of members called for review of the policy, which they consider anti-scientific and "irrational" and consider introduction of zero-emission nuclear power, along with renewable energy sources, to be a critical instrument for mitigation of climate change. In a 2021 YouGov poll, 65% of those surveyed said nuclear power should play a role in the country's climate policy and 12% expressed strong anti-nuclear sentiment, while 46% were aware that nuclear power is a low-carbon energy source.


Nuclear power in Scotland

Though the UK Government has recently given the go-ahead for a new generation of nuclear power stations to be built, the
Scottish Government The Scottish Government ( gd, Riaghaltas na h-Alba, ) is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved government of Scotland. It was formed in 1999 as the Scottish Executive following the 1997 Scottish devolution referendum, 1997 referendum on S ...
has made clear that no new nuclear power stations will be built in
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
and is aiming instead for a non-nuclear future. This was made clear when First Minister of Scotland, First Minister Alex Salmond said there was 'no chance' of any new nuclear power stations being built in Scotland. In 2008, the Scottish Government's stance was backed by the
Scottish Parliament The Scottish Parliament ( gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba ; Scots language, Scots: ''Scots Pairlament'') is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved, Unicameralism, unicameral legislature of Scotland. Located in the Holyrood, Edinburgh, Holyro ...

Scottish Parliament
that voted 63–58 to support the Scottish Government's policy of opposing new nuclear power stations.


See also

*Anti-nuclear movement in the United Kingdom * Nuclear energy in Ireland * Nuclear energy policy * Nuclear or Not? * Politics of the United Kingdom


References


Further reading

* Hogg, Jonathan, and Kate Brown
"Social and cultural histories of British nuclear mobilisation since 1945."
''Contemporary British History'' 33.2 (2019): 161–169. * Peoples, Columba
"New nuclear, new security? Framing security in the policy case for new nuclear power in the United Kingdom."
''Security Dialogue'' 45.2 (2014): 156–173. * Taylor, Simon. ''The Fall and Rise of Nuclear Power in Britain: A History'' (2016)


External links


Nuclear Power in the United Kingdom – World Nuclear Association (Updated 14 July 2016)




House of Lords Hansard column WA232, 24 February 2005
Committee on Radioactive Waste Management

National Nuclear Laboratory

BBC News Special – Nuclear Power in the UK


Robert Hawley – former CEO of Nuclear Electric and British Energy, World Nuclear Association Annual Symosium 2006
Histories and memories
Ray Hall – former CEO of Magnox Electric, Nuclear Energy, April 2002, pages 107–120
Going Critical: An Unofficial History of British Nuclear Power
Walter C. Patterson, Paladin, 1985,
Nuclear in the UK – where did it go wrong?
Steve Kidd, Nuclear Engineering International, 26 August 2009 * {{DEFAULTSORT:Nuclear Power in the United Kingdom Nuclear power in the United Kingdom, *