British Prime Minister wants new nuclear plants

British Prime Minister wants new nuclear plants

He wants to make it eco-friendly so that the industry can access some of the financial incentives available to other forms of renewable energy.

Building new nuclear plants creates emissions - through the production of steel and other materials needed. The emissions footprint - the total emissions generated across the lifecycle of a plant - is still very low.

The Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion in Ukraine in 1986 was the worst nuclear accident in history. An enormous earthquake in Japan last year flooded the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, causing a partial meltdown of the reactor cores.

Most of the reactors are at the end of their life, but the government wants to deliver up to eight new reactors per year, with one to be approved each year until 2030.

The Hinkley Point C plant is already under construction in Somerset, and the government gave the go-ahead for the Sizewell C nuclear power plant on the Suffolk coast in July 2022.

The government wants to develop Small Modular Reactors SMRs, which work in the same way as conventional nuclear reactors, but on a smaller scale.

Critics of nuclear power say the new plants will take so long to come on stream, they will be too late to help the UK meet its emissions targets or reduce energy prices for consumers.

Sizewell C is expected to take nine years to build, and Hinkley Point C is two years behind schedule due to the Pandemic.

One of the benefits of SMRs is that they are much quicker to build than larger plants.