The UK government on Thursday announced plans for what it said was the country's "biggest expansion of nuclear power for 70 years" to bolster its energy independence and meet carbon emission targets.
The Civil Nuclear Roadmap includes exploring the construction of a major new power station, 300 million pounds (around $382 million) of investment to produce an advanced uranium fuel and "smarter regulation."
Taken together, the measures would quadruple the UK's nuclear power by 2050 to 24 gigawatts, enough to provide a quarter of the UK's electricity needs.
"Nuclear is the perfect antidote to the energy challenges facing Britain – it's green, cheaper in the long-term and will ensure the UK's energy security," said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
"This is the right long-term decision and is the next step in our commitment to nuclear power, which puts us on course to achieve net zero by 2050 in a measured and sustainable way," he added.
The government said the proposals represented "the biggest expansion of nuclear power for 70 years," adding that it would "reduce electricity bills, support thousands of jobs and improve UK energy security."
The most eye-catching proposal is the possible construction of another power station as big as Sizewell in east England, which is due to begin construction this year, and Hinkley in west England, which is currently under construction. Both power stations will be capable of powering six million homes each.
The UK currently has nine operational nuclear reactors on five sites, but many are nearing the end of their operating lives.
Six reactors on three sites have been shut down since 2021 and will be dismantled. However, operator EDF announced in March that it was extending the life of two British power plants – Heysham 1 and Hartlepool.
The UK intends to build up to eight new reactors by 2050.
(With input from AFP)
(Cover: Construction of another reactor is planned at the Sizewell site, UK. /CFP )