Declining number of nuclear reactorsSince the start of the nuclear power era, 36 nuclear reactors have been shut down in the UK, leaving nine operative reactors in the country as of January 2023. The average age of the UK’s nuclear power fleet is over 30 years, and all the operable reactors are expected to reach the end of their lifecycle within five years. In 2022, the only nuclear power plant under construction was Hinkley Point C, with an expected capacity of 3,440 megawatts across two turbines. Hinkley Point C should become fully operational in 2028.
The future of nuclear power in the UKAfter the energy crisis of 2022, the UK government announced a new plan for the long-term expansion of civil nuclear energy, to reduce the dependency on (Russian) fossil fuels imports and to meet the Net Zero Target set for 2050. A new government body, the Great British Nuclear, will select a number of nuclear projects in 2023. Up to eight new nuclear reactors will be constructed by 2050. Hinkley, Sizewell, Heysham, Hartlepool, Brandwell, Wylfa, Oldbury, and Moorside are the designated locations for new nuclear units.
Among UK residents, the share of those approving nuclear energy usage surpasses the share of those disapproving. In a 2022 survey, 42 percent of respondents supported nuclear power in some form. A 34 percent share of respondents also saw it as a safe source of energy.