UK business leaders back new-build nuclear

A new poll of members of the UK’s Institute of Directors (IoD) found that nuclear power remains extremely popular amongst business leaders, with little or no change in opinion in the aftermath of the Fukushima accident.

The poll results are released today as part of an IoD report called Britain’s Nuclear Future, which makes the case for nuclear energy as a clean, cheap and safe way to meet Britain’s energy needs.

However a key finding is that business is strongly behind building new nuclear power stations. A survey of 1117 IoD members, carried out in April 2012 found that 84 per cent were in favour of new plants being built in the UK.

In a poll taken before the Japanese Tsunami (February 2010) the figure was 85 per cent, suggesting the accident has had little or no effect on business enthusiasm for new nuclear.

The report also found that over its life-cycle, a nuclear power station will emit around 50 tonnes of CO2 per GWh of electricity generated, compared with nearly 500 tonnes from gas and over 900 tonnes from coal.

It concludes that, taking into account the UK government’s carbon price and the cost of intermittent supply from renewables, electricity from a new nuclear plant would cost around à‚£70 ($109) per MWh hour over its lifetime, while the figure for gas would be à‚£95/MWh, à‚£130/MWh for coal, around à‚£145/MWh for onshore wind and à‚£180/MWh for offshore wind.

The report was written by Corin Taylor, senior economic adviser to the IoD, Dan Lewis, chief energy adviser to the IoD and Dr Wade Allison, emeritus professor of Physics at the University of Oxford.

Commenting on the report, Taylor said: “Britain is facing an energy gap with ageing coal and nuclear stations set to be shutdown in the coming years. New electricity production can take years to come online, particularly at a time when energy companies are worried about investing, so it is crucial that the government acts quickly to bridge this gap.

“Nuclear power is clean, cheap and safe and has to be part of the mix if we are to achieve a reliable and secure energy future.”

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