Expanding Horizons: The Role for New Nuclear in the UK’s Energy Mix

Publication Details

On the 10th of November, we launched our report, Expanding Horizons: The Role for New Nuclear in the UK’s Energy MixIn this report we make the case for investing in new nuclear in the UK and demonstrate the significant and wide-ranging benefits involved.

It is right and proper that Government carefully considers the new nuclear programme in the context of the UK’s wider economic position, and indeed it is also important that innovation elsewhere in the energy market is considered carefully and closely. But those who argue that these factors should lessen our enthusiasm for new nuclear are – frankly – drawing the wrong conclusions. The report says that new nuclear should not be framed as an alternative to renewables but as an integral part of the wider solution to meet the Government’s aim of having a sustainable, low carbon and secure energy mix as outlined in the Clean Growth Strategy. We argue that one technology cannot meet the Government’s carbon commitments and new nuclear will give the UK security of supply in the medium to long term which could act as a springboard to allow further innovation in renewable and battery technologies.

There are 78,000 people currently employed in the nuclear industry and this is estimated to rise to over 100,000 by 2021 as the new nuclear programme creates a wealth of new roles. The high-value jobs needed to construct and maintain the nuclear fleet have transferable skills to other sectors and through further investment in nuclear the UK can create additional high-skilled jobs which are at the heart of the Government’s Industrial Strategy. These skills will be in demand globally as other countries look to nuclear to bridge their own energy gaps.

In ‘Expanding Horizons: The Role for New Nuclear in the UK’s Energy Mix’, ResPublica argues investment in new nuclear would allow the UK to forge new trading partnerships around the world, exploiting its experience of delivering projects using imported technology to market itself as a global powerhouse for servicing the international nuclear industry, and capitalise on a market that is expected to reach £1tn over the next decade.

Phillip Blond, Director of ResPublica, said:

“Committing Britain to the new nuclear programme is vital to securing this country’s electricity mix, technological advantages and role as a world-leader in low-carbon, secure electricity through Brexit and beyond. New nuclear offers us, not only the opportunity to build on competitive advantages and to open up new markets and global relationships as we leave the EU, but also to build a secure platform for innovation and high-value, high skills jobs.”

Ian Liddell-Grainger MP, Chair, All Party Parliamentary Group on Nuclear Energy and Member of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee said:

“Developing baseload nuclear energy that is available around the clock will be an integral part of the UK’s future energy mix and a key solution to tackling the trilemma of security of supply, affordability and of meeting the UK’s carbon reduction commitments. I welcome this report from ResPublica which sets out the enormous opportunity at hand for new nuclear in boosting skilled jobs, innovation and new export markets.” 

Sue Hayman MP for Workington and Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Nuclear Energy said:

“This report by ResPublica makes clear the case for investing in new nuclear as a way to limit UK carbon emissions. We need to find long-term energy solutions that can continue to meet the electricity needs of the country cost-effectively and reliable new nuclear to balance the intermittent nature of renewable technologies must be a priority for industry and Government.” 

Leon Flexman, Corporate Affairs Director at Horizon Nuclear Power said:

“Nuclear and renewables have just been responsible for the ‘greenest summer’ on record and this report is a timely reminder of the challenges we face and the solutions we have available. The two technologies can work together to deliver the stable, secure, low carbon electricity system the UK needs, and be part of a successful Industrial Strategy.” 

Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association said:

“The UK’s decarbonisation ambitions can only be realised with a balanced low carbon electricity mix, as the distinction between energy and electricity diminishes. The growth in use of electric vehicles and efforts to decarbonise heat are likely to increase demand for power, even with energy efficiency and demand management advances. There is no single technology that will achieve this alone, and a responsible approach will utilise both nuclear and intermittent wind and solar as part of a mix to provide the reliable, secure and readily available power for our homes, businesses and public services.”

In Partnership with:

Horizon Nuclear Power

  • Max Wind-Cowie

    Deputy Director: ResPublica North

    Max Wind-Cowie is currently on secondment to the National Infrastructure Commission. Max has worked in policy development for over a decade, including senior roles at the think tank Demos, at Which? The Consumer Association and as a senior adviser to...

    Max Wind-Cowie