Challenge of Net Zero for UK Energy & for Nuclear

Introduction to the UK EPR Design Centre for Nuclear New Build Projects (1)

On 27 June 2019 the UK became the first major economy to pass net zero emissions law requiring that the UK bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. The new law poses major economic, scientific and engineering challenges, and a complete transformation of the way we generate and use energy, as well as several hundred billion pounds of investment. It will require:

  • Decarbonisation of all transport – affecting more than 20 million vehicles
  • Decarbonisation of heating – likely requiring a refresh of all domestic and commercial facilities and innovations in Electrical Heat Pumps or Hydrogen gas grids
  • Decarbonising an electrical supply, double in size - requiring massive upscaling of wind, solar and bio-fuels, as well as novel modular nuclear reactors.
  • Restricting carbon emission to very difficult applications such as ship and air transport, industrial processes and plastics manufacture. 

Nevertheless, this step change in technology will bring about significant opportunities for investment, such as funding the roll-out of a nation-wide EV charging infrastructure, huge growth in offshore wind and nuclear power generation, as well as massive advances in energy storage and recovery, including battery, compressed air, thermal and hydrogen and ammonia energy storage. 

This is the new landscape in which nuclear will have to complete.

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