The rusting turbines of Somerset. Source Stop These Things.

Renewable Fail: Britain to Now Class Nuclear Power as “Sustainable Energy”

Essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Jim Lakely (Heartland): The British government has caved in to the reality that renewables don’t work, and will now include nuclear energy in its plan to transition to “sustainable” power.

UK ‘to class nuclear as environmentally sustainable’

15 March 2023

The UK’s Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has announced that nuclear will “subject to consultation, be classed as environmentally sustainable in our green taxonomy” – he also launched a competition, to be completed by the end of the year, which could lead to co-funding for small modular reactors (SMRs).

In his set-piece address to the House of Commons outlining the government’s tax and spending plans, Hunt said “increasing nuclear capacity is vital to meet our net-zero obligations … so to encourage the private sector investment into our nuclear programme, I today confirm that, subject to consultation, nuclear power will be classed as environmentally sustainable in our green taxonomy, giving it access to the same investment incentives as renewable energy”.

He added: “Today I can announce two further commitments to deliver our nuclear ambitions. Firstly … I am announcing the launch of Great British Nuclear which will bring down costs and provide opportunities across the nuclear supply chain to help provide up to one quarter of our electricity by 2050. And secondly, I am launching the first competition for small modular reactors. It will be completed by the end of this year and if demonstrated as viable we will co-fund this exciting new technology.”

There was no further detail about the consultation provided among the Budget documents posted online.

Read more:

My suggestion, make sure the bank which holds your savings does not have significant exposure to renewable energy businesses.

Intermittent energy cannot compete with reliable energy, on anything like a level playing field.

If Britain’s decision to embrace nuclear power in its portfolio of sustainable energy options catches on, and if nuclear is treated as an equal partner to other “green” energy options, it will be like swinging a giant wrecking ball at the value of all the world’s existing wind and solar investments.

4.9 29 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
March 16, 2023 6:07 pm

Just after they got into power, I predicted The Albanese gov. would sooner or later admit that nuclear power is the only alternative to FF if they want to reduce emissions and keep the lights on, despite them hand waving it away at every opportunity. I give them another year or so…. You can only ignore the heard of elephants in the room for so long.
Mind you, there is still no good reason not to use coal.

Bryan A
Reply to  Mike
March 16, 2023 10:14 pm

WRT Nuclear at least it’s reliable and relatively inexpensive barring government over regulation and Hactivist intervention

Reply to  Mike
March 17, 2023 2:39 am

No indeed, as ever, coal is, or should be, King.

Last edited 10 days ago by Ian_e
Reply to  Mike
March 17, 2023 6:25 am

I have never heard of a heard of elephants! 🙂

Alastair Brickell
Reply to  stevekj
March 17, 2023 1:49 pm

They’re horribly hard to hear here.

Bodach Ceannmor
Reply to  Mike
March 18, 2023 1:03 pm

– were these amber elephants ?

Ron Long
March 16, 2023 6:08 pm

This is way too common sense for the Loonie Left, we won’t have long to wait for Extinction Rebellion to make a mess of things. Good luck. PS: The movie China Syndrome was not a documentary.

March 16, 2023 6:42 pm

Well, I suppose that’s one way they can avoid maximum embarrassment. The rest of it can come later!

March 16, 2023 7:08 pm

Can’t happen soon enough, my hat is off to Chancellor Hunt.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Bob
March 16, 2023 7:15 pm

Hunt and Sunak are a pair of yes men snakes. This is simply echoing the changes going on in the EU, which they still want Britain to remain a part of, De facto, if not De jure.
Neither are capable of coming up with any policy initiative unaided.
The Russian situation has made no electricity at all more politically unacceptable than nuclear power, that’s all.
Its all too little too late anyway.

Reply to  Leo Smith
March 16, 2023 7:58 pm

Why is it too little too late?

Reply to  Bob
March 16, 2023 8:55 pm

Why UK energy prices are rising much faster than in Europe
Note that the article is right about sky-rocketing UK power prices but wrong about the cause. Watch gas prices come down and UK power prices continue to go up.

Reply to  Mike Jonas
March 17, 2023 12:45 pm

The article does say energy prices are skyrocketing, gas is not the only source of energy. The UK has high gas prices because they don’t use their own fossil fuels, that is no one’s fault but theirs. You can fix that, use your own fossil fuels. The bigger question is electricity generation. Again they have chosen to not use the facilities already in place thinking wind and solar can replace fossil fuel and nuclear. They clearly can’t, even the least of us can see that. You don’t sit and cry about it, you fire up your old equipment, refurbish them if needed and build new facilities, starting now it doesn’t matter how long it takes to complete them. That’s the good thing bout making choices, if you make a bad one you can always change your mind. Celebrate diversity use fossil fuel and nuclear.

Reply to  Bob
March 17, 2023 7:53 am

Because you can’t correct over 25 years of stupid energy policy in a year, 2 years or 5 years. 10 years if you are lucky. The UK is letting EDF build the first new nuclear plant in decades but who knows if many of us will still be alive when it starts working. The reactor design is not a working one as the 2 other sites in Normandy and Finland are years late and massively over budget – not a good omen. Even if the two multi-millionaires running the government – Sushi and kHunt – allowed fracking, a lot of the gas plants are nearing the end of their operating lives and nobody is interested in funding replacements. And why would you when the government policy on power generation discriminates against you making it impossible to earn an investment return.

Reply to  gezza1298
March 17, 2023 12:55 pm

You don’t have to convince me that government sucks, I already know that. Clearly the government has made bad choices so now they need to make good choices. You need to get going in the right direction now, it doesn’t matter how long it takes to reach your goal, get going. Poor decisions made in the past are no excuse to not start making good decisions now. People need to stop yearning for the newest or the best, you are far better off at this point in time to choose something you know works and start building. Poor leadership is no excuse to sit on your backside.

Kit P
Reply to  gezza1298
March 17, 2023 5:40 pm

Two 1600 MWe EPR are running in China. The design works fine.

My experience in the US is that the French suck at the modern licensing process. The problem is not the regulators.

March 16, 2023 7:16 pm

If Britain’s decision to embrace nuclear power in its portfolio of sustainable energy options catches on, and if nuclear is treated as an equal partner to other “green” energy options, it will be like swinging a giant wrecking ball at the value of all the world’s existing wind and solar investments.”

Bring on the wrecking ball.

Rod Evans
Reply to  Nevada_Geo
March 16, 2023 11:58 pm

Agreed, So called ‘renewable’ energy is akin to the UKs 1960’s architecture craze. Whole town centres full of character all across the UK, that had served the needs of people for generations were torn down and replaced by concrete and bland brick ghetto structures. Awards were handed to the ‘architects’ who had clearly been trained in soviet architecture best practice. The National Theatre London is a prime example of the architectural genre.
Thankfully, the wrecking balls have been knocking the ugly constructs down that have been up barely 50 years.
Let us hope, realisation the follies built by the same manic collective mindset in our energy fields, (literally) receive the same destruction treatment. .

It doesnot add up
March 16, 2023 8:18 pm

In the UK nuclear is in a right mess. Kathryn Porter wrote a detailed analysis of where we are here:

It’s unclear, but I suspect that the 25% of electricity by 2050 target is not really any different from the earlier version: it’s just been repackaged. With Hinkley Point suffering yet more delays and technical problems with EPRs it is clear we need a different technology, but SMRs are still some way off commercial rollout. The only real positive was a promise to address nuclear regulation, which is currently designed to be highly obstructive, in a bid to speed up the process of approval.

The general lack of dispatchable capacity will soon become a headache. Panic moves to try to keep coal capacity on (Drax, West Burton) for next winter may fail. The old nuclear plants could easily close ahead of time if problem cracks appear in cores. There is nothing in reserve, so we may end up with emergency installations of diesel generators, just as the Irish have done recently.

There is also no understanding that rising shares of wind do not play well with nuclear capacity. low and negative prices during windy periods are disaster for nuclear economics, and nuclear is totally incapable of balancing highly variable wind output. So a corollary of trying to increase nuclear should be to limit wind. Then there is a need to look for cost effective nuclear. It is not certain that SMRs will deliver that. We know EPRs do not.

Getting a viable nuclear industry probably requires international co-operation in the development of a large enough market to benefit from economies of scale in production, and the selection of low cost, fast build (at least compared to other nuclear), reliable proven technology. None of this is in place as yet.

Reply to  It doesnot add up
March 16, 2023 11:23 pm

I’m so glad the Broon menace didn’t sell off Westinghouse…oh, wait, he did.

Matthew Bergin
Reply to  It doesnot add up
March 17, 2023 5:51 am

So skip using wind or solar in the mix. Useless for feeding the grid and very expensive due to its low energy density and intermittency requiring hot spinning backup to cover the dropouts. It would be much more effective to just use the gas backup generator all the time and scrap solar and the wind generator. A bit more development on the LFTR reactor and we could skip the gas as well.

Reply to  Matthew Bergin
March 18, 2023 10:03 am

In Ontario the 20 year contracts signed by the Liberal government have forced rural residents and the ratepayers of the province to put up with this failed experiment for the duration of the contract. In the case of the largest project, that means more than another decade and no plans for removal. No cost/benefit analysis was done by the Liberals, according to the Auditor General. They had to ‘save the planet’ A.S.A.P.
Is force majeure to end the contracts the only hope?

Reply to  It doesnot add up
March 17, 2023 10:13 am

I have a suspicion we were already using backup generators a couple of years ago, unacknowledged. I remember seeing a convoy of ten enormous generator trucks driving up the M6 toward Manchester in late 2020. I don’t remember the exact markings they carried, but it was something national-grid related. They were white and all identical.

Kit P
Reply to  It doesnot add up
March 17, 2023 5:57 pm

“We know EPRs do not.”

BS!!! So you know what the cost of generating what the cost of generating electricity for the next 60 years.

John Brown
Reply to  It doesnot add up
March 18, 2023 3:18 pm

I have seen a video of Tom Peacock, Component Lead, Steam Generator and Heat Exchangers at RR SMR giving a lecture to CSAR (Cambridge Society for the Application of Research) entitled “An Overview of Rolls-Royce SMR” where he said that their SMRs are “capable of providing both base load and load following capability”.

I have no idea if this is true or to what extent they can provide load following capability.

See at 19:47

March 16, 2023 9:40 pm

Considering that there is enough uranium that can be extracted from the oceans to power humanity’s energy needs for a billion years, uranium-powered fission reactors are essentially “renewable” and “sustainable”. They just need to figure out how to reprocess, reuse, and reduce the waste.

Last edited 10 days ago by stinkerp
Tom in Florida
Reply to  stinkerp
March 17, 2023 4:54 am

You can always use the waste for weapons.

March 16, 2023 11:20 pm

If the government are going to step in an intervene then costs will go up and things will take longer. It’s the socialist way.

Rod Evans
March 16, 2023 11:41 pm

Well, it has taken repeated failure of government energy policies over the past 40 years, before they finally realise, the most sustainable energy option for grid electricity is nuclear. No doubt the focus on small modular will create/enable variable output/control systems that can help keep the renewables going a little longer than they otherwise would. The reality is, with reliable 24/7/365 energy, being produced at minimum cost by nuclear, there will be no point in so called renewable/variable and unreliable energy options to be built.
We in the UK have had a week of good wind conditions helping to spin the on/off turbines but that has stopped, low wind is now with us, again.
So how adventurous is Hunt’s 25% target?
Domestic nuclear supply today, is already at 16% of demand, add in the cabled nuclear from France which is providing another 9%, today.
The 25% target from Hunt is a political slight of hand. We need to be aware of just how manipulated by the Green lobby our government (Rishi/Hunt) is.
What I will say, always looking for the positives. To declare nuclear a sustainable energy option is a step in the right direction.

March 17, 2023 12:06 am

Factoid 1 . .The last government white paper issued 2020 used the word nuclear over 100 times and suggested 20% energy supply for the UK to come from Nuclear so they are not technically late to realizing wind is not the panacea .
Factoid 2 . . . The NHS (countries largest employer) green paper on energy and sustainability issued a month later did not mention the word once.
Its always difficult to present a multifaceted / fractal-ated organization like the UK gov as a monolith

Reply to  Jono1066
March 19, 2023 12:15 am

Why is the National Health Service issuing a paper on energy and sustainability? Why would they need to mention nuclear, or wind and solar – or any other electricity source, besides the diesel/gas for hospital backup generators.

March 17, 2023 1:27 am

Its continuing a fundamentally wrong approach. It is sudden flash of sanity in that it acknowledges that reliable generation is necessary.

But it continues the same basic wrongheaded assumption by all political parties that Britain should get to net zero “because climate”.

In fact Britain does 1.2% of global annual emissions, of which maybe a third will come from electricity generation (caution – I haven’t checked the exact number).

Reduction from this around 0.3% of global annual emissions to zero percent is not going to make the any measurable difference to either the global total or the climate. Its a reduction of around 150 million tons a year on a total of 37 billion.

But you will find no-one in the political class in any party, SNP, Green, Plaid Cymru, Labour, Liberals, Conservatives who is prepared publicly to ask the basic question:

Why are we doing this?

March 17, 2023 1:41 am

Well – we predicted this here a while ago.

Net Zero through renewables won’t happen because it can’t.

Laws of Physics and Thermodynamics mean that any advanced economy will be unable to survive absent plentiful reliable and cost effective power.

Coeur de Lion
March 17, 2023 4:16 am

Oh lord help us. It was a disgrace that Sunak was forced by green clamour to put in an appearance at the grotesque failure of COP27 and make a platitudinous speech about ‘renewables’. I cringed with shame. Many other leaders didn’t appear. 33,000? What did they all do?

March 17, 2023 4:19 am
Mark BLR
March 17, 2023 6:04 am

… to help provide up to one quarter of our electricity by 2050

SMRs look like a good option, but getting to the “commercially viable” stage isn’t likely to happen before the (early- to mid- ?) 2030s.

The GB grid will have to reach 2030 without its “baseload” foundations collapsing first …

Joseph Zorzin
March 17, 2023 6:10 am

I predict- someday- some genius or group of scientists will master fusion reactors- resulting in such wealth as to make our current crop of billionaires look like paupers.

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
March 17, 2023 11:12 pm

Someday, but not in the next few decades.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Dennis Gerald Sandberg
March 19, 2023 4:37 am

Unfortunately for us- time goes a lot faster that we’d like. Sure, the old joke that fusion is always just another 30 years- but it’ll happen and it’ll make a big difference and make some people extremely wealthy. And it’ll solve a lot of problems. And by then, perhaps the world will be a few degrees warmer but everyone will realize it’s a great thing too!

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
March 19, 2023 12:17 am

Not with tritium at $30,000 per gram.

March 17, 2023 8:05 am

The British government has caved in to the reality that renewables don’t work, and will now include nuclear energy in its plan to transition to “sustainable” power.”
As a retired Nuclear Engineer [20 years in us Navy and 40 years commercial NPPs] I have been saying that Nuclear Power is the only viable way to reduce CO2 and have RELIABLE ENERGY.

Claims for Wind and Solar only make the proponents of W/S rich and have no chance of providing a nation with even as much as 75% of the total ENERGY. As states (or electric utility service areas) have reached 30% their power grids become unstable, and the blackouts increase. The main reason NP generated is more expensive is that priority is given to W/S through GND Laws that force the transition to W/S and restrict the use of NP. And tax subsidies given to W/S that are greater than ten time the selling price of electricity in many states [Which YOU pay for in your taxes along with higher electric rates.] These restrictions were purposely designed to cause these shutdowns. And as a result, 12 NPPs have shut down [from 104 in 2000 to 92 today] because they cannot sell enough power to make a profit and can actually increase “profits” by shutting down and gaining access to the $$$-mega-millions in the “Decommissioning Fund.”

Presently the United States consumes 122 Quadrillion Btus [that is 122 with 15 zeros or 122,000,000,000,000,000 Btu] of energy per year. Over 110 of that is Fossil or not designated as renewable, e.g. Nuclear. Of the 12 Quadrillion obtained from “Renewable” only 1/3 comes from Wind/Solar. Also, about 1/3 of the so called renewable, e.g. biomass, ethanol, etc., emits CO2. 
It does not take a Genius to determine that to replace 7050 Million Tons (not barrels) of fossil energy used each year would take the equivalent of over 100 US WWII “Manhattan” projects continuing for at least 50 years, and more like 100 years considering the replacement of the 10 – 20 year lifetime, five-year MTBF Solar/Wing dream machines.  

Kevin Kilty
March 17, 2023 8:17 am

The commentary provided by “Beta Blocker” who posts here occasionally, explains pretty clearly that the problem with nuclear energy is that the demands of construction on site are so rigorous that nuclear power plants are in a sense doomed to be too expensive and behind schedule always. Even large firm with much construction experience are not fully up to the task. He advocates that economics favors natural gas.

I think that natural gas should, ideally, never be used in thermal plants to produce electricity as it is too valuable for other critical uses. Of course coal is the perceived enemy and might become as difficult to permit and finance as nuclear unless we hobble it with carbon capture.

The middle way in this is, possibly, to consider small modular designs in which critical parts of the construction are built in a factory and subject to the sorts of QA/QC efforts that have made all sorts of products less expensive and of uniformly higher quality — right down to the fueling of reactor cores in factory and delivered to site. Of course, this will mean that large over all capacity has to be made up with lots of small plants.

It’s amazing how there are so many bad choices in these energy debates and our rather incapable elites seem determined to make every single one of them.

Reply to  Kevin Kilty
March 17, 2023 12:31 pm

What has happened to NG Fuel Cells? DOE is still pushing them, and the Local Electric Company installed one at the Zoo on display for those that walked around the Zoo. Twenty years ago, they said you could have a “Hybrid” HW Heater that generates electricity while heating the water. If the subsidized spent on W/S were used for further research, they would be in wide use today.

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
March 17, 2023 8:41 am

Nuclear is the least demanding energy source for both materials for construction and for fuel. Thorium fast neutron breeder reactors solve the fuel problem. Orders of magnitude superior for both materials and fuel. Nothing else is even close.

From 2030-2050 light water fission small scale modular will dominate while fast neutron is being perfected (see NuScale stock symbol SMR).  Let’s say a gradual build up to 10 factories churning out cookie cutter identical modular reactors in the USA, 5 each in Uk, Germany, France, India, Japan, South Korea, and 20 in China.

fifteen factories x 3 each from 2040 to 2050=450 reactors, 30 factories x 3 each =2050 to 2060 =900 reactors. Sixty factories x 4 per year from 2060 to 3080 = 4,800 reactors. Grand total = 450+900+4,800=6,150 round off to 6,000 reactors x 300 MW each = 1,980,000 round off to 2 million MW.
2080 to 2100, 60 factories x 4 per year, 4,800 x 330 MW each = 1.583,000 MW round off to 1.5 TW.
Grand total: 3 5 TW.

Note: By 2060 each factory could turn out 8 each reactors instead of only 4, so the total number of required factories could be considerably less than 60. This first blush is a reasonable scenario for getting to “mostly” nuclear by 2100. Cut the number of factories in half and it would still “be close”.
NuScale placed their first long lead time order for reactor components with a South Korea facility earlier this month. It’s a go.

Bryan A
Reply to  Dennis Gerald Sandberg
March 17, 2023 8:02 pm

I thought it was the USSA.
United Socialist States of America

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  Bryan A
March 17, 2023 11:09 pm

Ouch, you’re probably right, things have changed these past couple years with the Democrats in the FBI and DOJ framing a sitting President and framing and imprisoning without bail peaceful Jan6 protesters. Everyone knows they did it and without consequences.

March 17, 2023 11:15 am

Taiwan Looks To Replace Nuclear Power With LNG

Very likely with FREEDOM GAS from the USofT!

Reply to  voza0db
March 17, 2023 11:22 am

So… they want to stop the use of GAS for the herd of modern moron slaves in the USofT while at the same time they are boosting GAS consumption to foreign herds. Priceless!

March 18, 2023 10:36 am

After billions wasted on wind power. Hang them high!
But, seriously, nuclear power is an existential threat to wind power. Wind activists point out that nuclear power on the grid makes wind power very unattractive. Nuclear power plants go full out 24×7. Their incremental fuel costs are zero. Unlike gas powered plants, they have no economic reason to cut back production if wind increases and the wholesale price of electricity falls close to zero. So, what happens when wind power triples on the grid overnight and nuclear won’t cut back? Will the govt make the nuclear plants cut back to allow the wind farms to sell their electricity at a profit?
And, chortle, chortle, I don’t think nuclear plants have to pay for carbon credits to give to the wind power people.
Wind power has no place on an electricity grid.
Yes. I do mean it! Hang them high!

%d bloggers like this:
Verified by MonsterInsights