12 December 2013
In a submission to a consultation on geological waste disposal, the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) has said that an upper limit of 75 gigawatts of nuclear power is “being examined” by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in London.
This equates to over 50 new large-scale modern reactors. The current programme announced by ministers is to build 12 reactors to supply 16 gigawatts at five sites, starting with Hinkley Point in Somerset.
CoRWM was commenting on the number of disposal facilities might be required for the waste that will be produced by new nuclear power stations. The 16 gigawatt programme was only the “first tranche”, it said, and was “substantially below the 75GWe upper limit being examined in DECC”.
CoRWM added: “There is a need for clarity that any data given for, for example, 16GWe, are an example rather than either an expectation or a limit."
This is not the first time that DECC has raised the possibility of embarking on such a massive nuclear building project. In a report on delivering a low-carbon future in 2011 it included a scenario in which 75 gigawatts of nuclear power was brought on line by 2050 to provide 86% of the UK's electricity.