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Nuclear report: key lessons from existing power stations

Nuclear power stations of the past and present hold the key to a safe nuclear future for the UK, a new report says.

The ICE worked with an alliance of engineering bodies and the Office for Nuclear Development to produce a study to help ensure the success of the future UK nuclear new build programme, given the green light by government last week.

The report was launched at the Nuclear Development Forum, a quarterly meeting of industry stakeholders and government representatives, by energy minister Charles Hendry.

Eight potential sites for new nuclear power stations were confirmed in last month’s Comprehensive Spending Review, with the first estimated to be online by 2018.

Lost experience

The report warns that as the last nuclear power station built in the UK was constructed 15 years ago, much of the experience has been lost.

The study, which assessed nuclear power stations from Sizewell B to under-construction Olkiluoto 3 in Finland, identifies lessons that apply to all of the assessed stations, which will help the ambitious new build programme be delivered on time and as efficiently as possible.   

Alliance spokesperson John Earp said the nuclear new build programme was critical for the UK.
“Nuclear construction is unique, it demands that all those involved understand its complex nature.

“We hope that providing industry and the supply chain with clear and accessible information on lessons learned in the past will enable the upcoming new build programme to be delivered to time, cost and quality ensuring reliable nuclear generated electricity and helping to meet UK climate change targets,” he said.

  •  The report can be downloaded from

Ice believes nuclear is essential part of the future UK energy mix

Last week’s Nuclear Development Forum, a quarterly meeting of nuclear industry stakeholders and government officials, showed that confidence is growing in the sector, the ICE has said.

Represented at the forum by director general Tom Foulkes, the ICE says that the new government has continually shown real commitment to the nuclear programme at the meetings and combined with credible action, this is beginning to resonate positively within industry.

Chaired by energy minister Charles Hendry, this quarter’s meeting focused on three key issues related to the new build programme - planning, government’s role in supporting the programme and creating a conducive investment environment to attract in private funding.

Foulkes said that it was clear that government was aware of the issues that could delay the programme: “Momentum is really picking up; there is much less uncertainty and a real feeling of progress dominated the meeting.”

This is in part likely to be a response to the government’s first ever National Infrastructure Plan, revealed last week, which highlighted energy security as of one of the top priorities in rebuilding the country’s economic strength.

The ICE has stressed that nuclear energy is an essential part of the ‘energy mix’, and says that with the right support from government, there is no reason why the programme cannot be delivered successfully, guaranteeing the UK a low carbon energy supply in future.

However, the ICE warned that this requires government to remove the obstacles to private investment, through providing an efficient planning system, ensuring a stable regulatory environment and driving forward the development of the national policy statements for energy.

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