Guide to nuclear power

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Current nuclear power generation - quick facts  

  • There are eight nuclear power stations in the UK, operated by EDF. 
  • The UK generates about 20% of its electricity from nuclear, but almost half of current capacity is to be retired by 2025. (WNA, Nov 2021
  • Every current nuclear power station, except Sizewell B in Suffolk, will stop generating by 2030.  
  • The UK was the first country in the world to build a commercial nuclear power station in the 1950s.  
  • The total nuclear energy generation in the UK has provided enough low-carbon electricity for every home for 28 years.  
A map of the UK's nuclear power stations and their total power output figures
The generating output of the EDF UK nuclear fleet. Credit: EDF

More info:  

Net Zero Needs Nuclear

EDF power stations

UK nuclear power - World Nuclear profile

Future nuclear power generation 


Construction of Hinkley Point C
Construction of Hinkley Point C. Credit: EDF
  • Hinkley Point C in Somerset is under construction, and will power over 6 million homes  
  • Sizewell C in Suffolk is planned as a replica of Hinkley C, powering another 6 million homes. Should get financing and approval by 2024.  
  • There are also plans for new reactors at Bradwell – less advanced timeline than Hinkley or Sizewell. 


Credit: UKAEA
  • The UK is aiming to be the first country in the world to build a commercial fusion power plant, by 2040.  
  • A site in the country will be picked by the end of 2022 to build this plant – there are five places in contention through the STEP process. 
  • A by-product of fusion is Hydrogen, which can be used as a clean fuel for e.g. vehicles.  
  • Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) website:  

Small and Advanced Modular Reactors  

Mock-up of a potential SMR. Credit: Rolls Royce
  • Small Modular Reactors:  smaller reactors that can be built in a factory/off-site then assembled quickly on site, as opposed to built entirely on site.  Rolls-Royce leading consortium to build a fleet, potentially connecting to the grid by 2030. 
  • Advanced Modular Reactors: next generation reactors   e.g. lead-cooled, molten salt
  • These smaller reactors could be used to power individual factories, business parks, towns, cities etc.  

UK Energy mix 

  • Nuclear power provides approximately 12-20% of the UK’s electricity at any time. 
  • Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are intermittent and output can fluctuate; nuclear is able to generate close or at capacity 24/7 regardless of weather conditions.  
  • EU countries such as France and the Netherlands are responsible for fulfilling around 10% of the UK’s electricity demand through interconnectors (these countries have excess nuclear and wind capacity, respectively). 
A graphic showing the UK energy mix in October 2021
UK October 2021 Energy mix. Source: National Grid ESO

Hourly updates of nuclear power generation in UK

Electricity map – UK and Global

Other useful links and resources

Nuclear Industry Association - Rediscover Nuclear

World Nuclear Association

Net Zero Needs Nuclear Resources Hub

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