The current crisis in the Ukraine has highlighted the west’s dependence on Russian oil and gas, and the importance of energy security for all European countries. New nuclear is featured prominently in the new energy security strategies of the UK and beyond. The prime minister wants nuclear to generate 25% of the UK’s electricity needs in the future, in comparison to 16% currently. Hinckley C is under construction, the government will take a 20% stake in the Sizewell C nuclear plant, Sizewell B’s operating life is likely to be extended for another 20 years, a new nuclear plant at Wylfa is back on the agenda and there are plans for up to 16 small modular reactors to be built around the UK.
At the European level, Germany is revisiting its decision to abandon nuclear, France will be increasing its nuclear energy capacity and other countries across Europe are likely to re-evaluate the role that nuclear energy plays in their energy mix, since it has the potential to contribute significantly to achieving the twin objectives of energy security and net zero. The EU Commission’s proposed inclusion of nuclear energy in its “Green Taxonomy” will help facilitate these developments.
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