Are the UK’s nuclear energy ambitions unrealistic?

In February, Toshiba announced that it will not be “carrying out actual construction work” on its proposed £106bn Moorside nuclear power plant in Cumbria, although it still plans to be involved, after the company admitted it was writing off losses of $6bn following huge cost over-runs on two of its atomic plants in the US.

The Toshiba turmoil prompted new doubts over the UK’s own nuclear energy ambitions. Energy expert Mycle Schneider branded the Government’s plans “pie in the sky” and recent reports state that pressure is being put on the Treasury by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to take sizable stakes in nuclear power plant projects to aid viability.

Schneider has said that the UK Government would not be able to offer the level of capital support required to deliver a new fleet of atomic power plants – Hinkley Point alone has an estimated construction cost of £18bn – and advised that efforts should be focused on increasing the UK’s renewable energy output, which is currently delivering increasing levels of generation capacity.