GB News: Dan Wootton discusses nuclear energy plan
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Yesterday, Boris Johnson pledged funding for the construction of the Sizewell C nuclear power plant in Suffolk. After decades of underinvestment during which the UK’s dependency on foreign gas grew, British households brace for crippling energy prices this winter. The Government has now hailed nuclear energy as critical for the country’s energy security in the future, and hopes it can meet a quarter of electricity demand by the middle of the century.
During a speech from the site of the proposed Sizewell C plant on the Suffolk coast on Thursday, Boris Johnson confirmed one of his final acts as Prime Minister was to sign-off on £700million in funding for the reactor.
The £20billion nuclear power station is expected to take just under a decade to build and will eventually power six million homes.
This comes as state regulator Ofgem announced an 80 percent increase in the energy price cap next month, which will see the average household charged £3,549 a year.
Due to the UK’s reliance on natural gas, British households are staring down some of the highest energy bills in Europe this winter.
In France, where 70 percent of electricity demand is met by nuclear power production, electricity price inflation was 8.2 percent over the past year – relative to the UK’s 54 percent, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The contribution from nuclear power to the UK energy market fell from 19.8 percent to 14.9 percent, between 1990 and 2021, and most of the country’s existing capacity is set to be retired by the end of the decade.
However, the Government now wants to reduce the UK’s dependency on international oil and gas by building up to eight new nuclear reactors.
In July, energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng awarded planning permission to French energy company EDF to build the Sizewell C plant in Suffolk, and construction of the Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset is well underway.
The Government aims to upgrade the UK’s nuclear capacity so that it can generate a quarter of the country’s electricity by 2050.
READ MORE: Boris unleashes HUGE £700m turbo boost for UK nuclear project
In a poll that ran from midday from 2pm on Tuesday, August 30, to 10am on Friday, September 2, Express.co.uk asked readers: “Should the UK invest more in nuclear power?”
In total, 978 readers cast their votes with the overwhelming majority, 90 percent (885 people) answering “Yes”, nuclear energy should receive more financial backing in the UK.
A further nine percent (89 people) said “No”, the Government should not invest more in nuclear power, while just 4 people said they did not know.
In the dozens of comments left below the accompanying article, nuclear energy was a clear favourite among readers.
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Many claimed nuclear should long since have been recognised as a successor to the energy sources of old, username Massum saying: “It should have been done years ago. You cannot shut down coal and oil stations until you have other sources of power ready to take over With enough power held in reserve for problems and shutdowns”
Username Bye and thanks for all the fish simply said: “We should have invested 25 years ago”
Username Backfire advocated for immediate action, saying: “Let’s stop talking about this and just get on with it. Same for fracking too.”
Username LetsJustSay said: “Of course there should be more investment in nuclear. Rather than large nuclear power stations, build several smaller ones.”
Others were in favour but only on certain conditions, like username JacquelineMcConnell, who said: “Not if it involves EDF or any other foreign company. We have the Expertise and Knowledge to build our own Nuclear power stations.”
Username watchereyes agreed: “Yes but only if British built, no Chinese involvement. They should be nowhere near British infrastructure.”
Username PaulClieu explained: “History has shown it was unwise to rely on Russian gas. It is almost equally unwise to rely on France for nuclear technology.
“The UK government should back the Rolls-Royce modular reactor system. It will have excellent export potential and the taxes raised on manufacturing those exports should more than repay the treasury’s investment.”
However, some readers expressed a preference for other means of electricity production such as username Pookum, who said: “Tidal energy is the most reliable. Thats why a barrage across the severn estuary is the cleanest”
And username Daciaman said: “It doesn’t matter [what] source of power we need to generate as long as foreign countries own them we will still be paying extortionate world prices.
“The energy we are getting from wind and solar is still being charged at the Ofgem price cap level so what’s the point.”
Indeed, nuclear power plants are not without their drawbacks: from their cost often running into the tens of billions, issues relating to the storage of nuclear waste, as well as that of decommissioning plants once they reach the end of their service life.
Although extremely low, the risk of meltdown has been back in the spotlight recently as Russian shelling of Europe’s biggest nuclear power station in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, prompted the UN to dispatch an emergency team of inspectors to the site this week
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