Why is the UK investing in nuclear energy?

We are substantially expanding nuclear energy in the UK.  

Our new plans include exploring building a major new power station and investing in advanced nuclear fuel production. 

Nuclear power is a clean form of energy that supports the UK’s climate change goals. It will help reduce electricity bills, support thousands of jobs and improve our energy security.  

Here’s what you need to know about nuclear energy, and what it means for you.

What is nuclear energy? 

Nuclear energy is a low-carbon form of energy produced in nuclear power plants. 

Traditional nuclear power plants use heat produced during nuclear fission to produce steam. That steam is then used to spin large turbines that generate electricity. 

Why do we use nuclear power? 

  • Nuclear power stations generate electricity without emitting greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane. 
  • Nuclear power plants produce electricity 24 hours a day, whatever the weather. 
  • Nuclear power plants don’t require a daily supply of new fuel to operate, unlike gas, coal, and biomass plants.  
  • Homegrown energy can help to protect the country from price volatility and hostile foreign regimes like Russia. 

Is nuclear power safe?  

Yes. As confirmed by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, nuclear power plants ‘are among the safest and most secure facilities in the world,’ and nuclear power is one of the safest forms of energy generation. 

For an adult living beside a new nuclear plant, the annual dose of radiation is much less than taking a trans-Atlantic flight or eating 100g of Brazil nuts – neither of which have heavy radiation. 

Nuclear power has operated in the UK for decades without incident, and all UK nuclear operators are answerable to robust and independent regulators. 

How will nuclear power help me?

New measures will help quadruple UK nuclear power by 2050 up to 24GW – enough to provide a quarter of our electricity needs.

Producing nuclear power at home will create jobs, attract investment, and grow the economy.  

It will help us deliver cheaper, cleaner, and more secure electricity for British homes and businesses.  

These plans will also help the UK transition towards net zero in a realistic way – making sure that hitting our green targets does not come at the expense of the British public. 

Read about the UK’s history of nuclear power .