A report calls for huge expansion of experimental nuclear plants in the UK. The UK will need to develop a huge fleet of currently experimental nuclear reactors by the middle of the century, to generate around two-thirds of the country’s electricity supply if it is to meet the most nuclear-intensive scenario for moving away from fossil fuels, according to a report by three of the government’s most senior scientific advisers.
The expansion would involve developing nuclear generation technologies that are not currently used commercially anywhere in the world, and would also entail a huge expansion from the current electricity contribution of nuclear power to the UK grid. In 2011, nuclear supplied 18% of electricity demand.
This would mean at least tripling the current number of reactors (16 reactors now). The eventual number could be much higher because the new unconventional reactors are expected to have a smaller generating capacity.
Scenarios for future electricity generation suggest that between now and 2050 nuclear power could supply between 15% and 49% (12 and 38 GW) of the total. To meet the UK’s legally binding target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 it is likely that between 20 and 38 GW of nuclear power will be needed.