Several European countries have found themselves strapped for energy supplies in recent months. The fallout from the Covid 19 pandemic and Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine has caused prices to skyrocket and sparked fears of shortages. Even the world’s most sophisticated and developed countries have not been immune to this energy plight. High energy prices in the UK, for example, have prompted a cost-of-living crisis. Household gas and electricity prices jumped 54% in this month alone.
However, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is taking action to reduce dependence on oil and natural gas imports from Russia and ensure his country is never placed in this position again.
Prime Minister Johnson’s plan aims to accelerate the development of clean energy sources, including wind, solar, and hydrogen. Perhaps most significantly, the government plans to build eight new nuclear plants by 2050, tripling the U.K.’s current nuclear capacity. Under the new plan, 95% of the U.K.’s energy will come from low carbon sources.
“We’re setting out bold plans to scale up and accelerate affordable, clean and secure energy made in Britain, for Britain, from new nuclear to offshore wind, in the decade ahead,” says Johnson. “This will reduce our dependence on power sources exposed to volatile international prices we cannot control.”
Nuclear power is ideal for ensuring the U.K.’s energy security. Why? It’s carbon-free and is highly reliable. Nuclear power is immune to extreme weather, meaning a lack of wind or icy conditions is unlikely to take nuclear plants offline.
Britain’s energy move is in stark contrast to Europe’s largest economy, Germany. Despite facing its own energy woes, the German government has continued with its plans to decommission the country’s last three nuclear plants by the end of this year. Unfortunately, that decision will only complicate its desire to meet aggressive carbon reduction targets. Closing these plants will likely contribute to shortages and even increased CO2 emissions, clearly making its drive down the road to a clean energy future bumpy, at best.
That’s why we can only heap praise on Boris Johnson’s decision to embark upon a nuclear renaissance. Our stance on nuclear power has been clear. Since our inception over a decade ago, we’ve been enthusiastic supporters of this carbon-free generating source. And that’s why for the U.K, investing in nuclear energy just makes sense. Its underlying properties make it an essential part of the UK’s affordable, reliable, resilient, and carbon-free energy future.