Nuclear Power gets a boost from EU green targets

Article posted

14th Sep 2023

Read time

3-6 min read


Mollie Pinnington

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Nuclear power has long been a contentious issue in the United Kingdom, but recent developments have brought it back into the spotlight, thanks to the European Union's ambitious new green targets. As the EU strives to achieve its ambitious climate goals, nuclear power is emerging as a crucial component of the clean energy mix. This article explores how nuclear power in the UK is receiving a significant boost to support the EU's green objectives.

The EU's Green Ambitions

In its efforts to combat climate change, the European Union has set ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions and transitioning to renewable and low-carbon energy sources. These targets are enshrined in the European Green Deal, a comprehensive plan to make the EU carbon-neutral by 2050. Central to this plan is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.


The Role of Nuclear Power

Nuclear power has often been a polarising topic, with concerns about safety, waste disposal, and public opinion. However, nuclear power is now being recognised as a valuable tool in the fight against climate change, given its ability to produce large amounts of electricity with low carbon emissions. In fact, nuclear power is considered a reliable and consistent source of baseload power, which is essential for a stable energy grid.


The UK's Nuclear Renaissance

The United Kingdom has a long history with nuclear power, dating back to the 1950s. Today, the UK has a fleet of nuclear power stations that provide a significant portion of the country's electricity. However, many of these stations are aging and in need of replacement or refurbishment.

To support the EU's green targets, the UK government has committed to investing in its nuclear infrastructure. One of the most notable projects is the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset. This massive facility, currently under construction, will have a capacity of 3.2 gigawatts, enough to power around 6 million homes. Hinkley Point C is expected to significantly reduce carbon emissions while bolstering the UK's energy security.

Beyond Hinkley Point C, the UK has also shown interest in developing small modular reactors (SMRs) and advanced nuclear technologies. These innovations promise increased safety, efficiency, and flexibility in nuclear energy production. By investing in next-generation nuclear technologies, the UK aims to play a leading role in Europe's nuclear renaissance.


Challenges and Concerns

Despite its potential benefits, nuclear power is not without challenges and concerns. Safety remains a paramount issue, and nuclear accidents, such as the Chernobyl disaster and the Fukushima Daiichi incident, have left a lasting impact on public perception. Additionally, the issue of nuclear waste disposal and long-term storage remains unsolved in many countries.

To address these concerns, the UK government is committed to stringent safety standards and robust regulations. Public engagement and transparency are also crucial elements of the UK's nuclear strategy. Furthermore, advancements in nuclear technology, including safer reactor designs and improved waste management solutions, are actively being pursued.


Nuclear power in the UK is experiencing a renaissance, driven in part by the European Union's ambitious green targets. As the EU seeks to reduce carbon emissions and transition to clean energy sources, nuclear power has emerged as a critical component of the energy mix. With investments in projects like Hinkley Point C and advancements in nuclear technology, the UK is positioning itself to play a significant role in Europe's clean energy future. However, addressing safety concerns, waste management, and public perception will remain essential to ensuring the success of the UK's nuclear ambitions and contributing to the EU's green objectives.

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