Business bosses in the UK believe nuclear power is a clean, cheap and safe way to generate energy and want to see more plants built in Britain.
A survey of 1117 IoD members found that 84 per cent are in favour of new plants being built in the UK. In a survey taken before the Fukushima disaster in March 2011, the figure was 85 per cent, suggesting the Japanese accident has had little or no effect on British business enthusiasm for new nuclear.
The poll results are released today alongside an IoD report called ‘Britain’s Nuclear Future’, which was written by Corin Taylor, senior economic adviser to the IoD, Dan Lewis, chief energy adviser, and Wade Allison, Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford.
The report found that over its life-cycle, a nuclear power station will emit around 50 tonnes of CO2 per gigawatt hour of electricity generated, compared with nearly 500 tonnes from gas and over 900 tonnes from coal.
It concludes that, taking into account the government’s carbon price and the cost of intermittent supply from renewables, electricity from a new nuclear plant would cost around £70 per megawatt hour over its lifetime, while the figure for gas would be £95/MWh, £130/MWh for coal, around £145/MWh for onshore wind and £180/MWh for offshore wind.
The report also states that “the threat to populations from radiation is often overstated” and “despite media claims, the Fukushima accident is very unlikely to lead to any deaths at all”.
Corin Taylor said: “Britain is facing an energy gap with ageing coal and nuclear stations set to be shut down 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 has to be part of the mix if we are to achieve a reliable and secure energy future.”