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The perception of nuclear power as expensive

EDF Energy's EPR under construction in France

Historically, the cost of nuclear power has been the subject of much debate, with some claiming it is expensive and others, falsely, saying it would be 'too cheap to meter'. The truth is somewhere in between.

In the past, nuclear plants were built by the state and had relatively short operational lives of about 30 years, which made it difficult to generate enough electricity to pay back the high cost of construction, waste handling and decommissioning.

However, the majority of the UK's existing nuclear power stations are scheduled to close by 2023, and it is anticipated that improved technological developments derived from many years of operational experience, and power station lifespans of around 60 years, will help to make the next generation more cost-effective. The increasing cost of fossil fuels relative to uranium means nuclear power stations are now a competitive means of generating electricity.

Furthermore, the challenge of climate change means that there is a need to turn to low-carbon forms of electricity generation and nuclear energy is the lowest cost large-scale low-carbon generating technology currently available.

Information sources

/energyfuture/