UK Government gives further backing to ‘nuclear renaissance’

The UK Government announced further steps towards a new generation of nuclear reactors this week, saying proposals on the table could now power all the country's homes in years to come.

On the day that nuclear experts from around the world gathered in London for an industry summit, Energy and Climate Change Secreatary Ed Miliband announced a third nuclear operator had put forward plans to build up to 3.6 gigawatts of nuclear capacity.

Work would begin in 2015 on a site north of Sellafield on Cumbria.

The operator is a consortium of British and European energy companies GDF SUEZ SA, Iberdrola SA and Scottish and Southern Energy Plc.

Mr Miliband said: “These latest plans, together with the ambition of existing plans from two other operators, mean that new nuclear could power the equivalent of all 26 million homes in the UK.

“This sale is further proof that we’re giving industry the confidence to invest and that the UK is creating a successful low carbon economy.”

The new site, purchased for £70 million, follows previous sales of Nuclear Decommissioning Authority land at Wylfa, Oldbury and Bradwell.

While government is promoting nuclear as a low carbon alternative to fossil fuelled energy generation, it is an issue that splits those working in the environmental sector.

While many accept it leads to carbon savings, there are still concerns over the safe treatment and storage of waste, costs and potential for disasters.

Sam Bond

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