A review of research relevant to new build nuclear power plants in the UK

John Broderick, Kevin Anderson, Christopher Jones, Jim Watson

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

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    Abstract

    This report has been commissioned by Friends of the Earth England Wales and Northern Ireland (FoE) to independently review evidence on key issues relating to the potential new fleet of nuclear power stations that may be built in the UK over the period 2017 to 2030. The report draws primarily on peer-reviewed academic literature although this is supplemented with “grey” literature from credible government, consultancy and policy sources. It is not an exhaustive review of all the issues and writing concerning civil nuclear power but has a specific scope outlined below (see Annex 1 for full Terms of Reference). Nuclear power is quite unlike both fossil fuels and renewable sources of electricity generation with a particular set of characteristics that may be beneficial or problematic. The main purpose of this report is to provide a succinct appraisal of key issues relevant to the plans for a new generation of reactors in the UK, namely:• safety• radioactive waste disposal• proliferation of nuclear weapons• economics of nuclear power• siting and planning of low carbon generation• employment • issues in managing a low carbon grid• interactions between nuclear power and other low carbon technologiesThese issues are presented in separate sections as reviews of existing primary research and not as new research findings. The penultimate section, Chapter 11, presents new work by Tyndall Manchester on the carbon dioxide emissions implications of using gas rather than building a new series of nuclear power stations. We calculate the emissions output if the shortfall in electricity generation were to be met by the use of combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT). Alternative renewable energy sources are not considered as their direct emissions are negligible and similar to those from nuclear stations. A range of scenarios is presented for different combinations of rates and extent of nuclear construction and the availability and performance of carbon capture and storage technology. This report is intended for detailed consideration by the staff and members of Friends of the Earth and does not include an executive summary. Direct recommendations as to the appropriateness of a new fleet of nuclear stations in the UK have not been made by the authors. It is also important to note that some key aspects are highly contextual and contingent upon future circumstance.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationLondon, UK
    PublisherFriends of the Earth
    Number of pages91
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013

    Keywords

    • nuclear power
    • safety
    • economics
    • radioactive waste disposal
    • low carbon energy system

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