A report for EDF Energy has put some figures on the benefits to the UK economy that could flow from the company's plans for new nuclear power plants.
The report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) takes the UK's longstanding lack of infrastructure investment as its starting point. It notes that public and private investment in British roads, rails and power plants has lagged behind that of many similar countries in recent decades. This longstanding issue has combined with the planned retirements of 12 GWe of fossil and 7.1 GWe of old nuclear power plants by 2020 to mean the country faces a potential power generation shortfall.
At the same time, climate change concerns have led British politicians to put in place a target of 80% cuts in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. The target is virtually unachievable without the decarbonisation of the electricity sector by 2030, according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).