EDF: UK could set 2030 generation target of 30 per cent for nuclear power

26 October 2009 – Nuclear power will need to account for 30 per cent of the UK’s electricity output by 2030 if carbon dioxide reduction targets are to be met, according to EDF Energy’s CEO Vincent de Rivaz.

In an interview with the Financial Times, de Rivaz said that the UK government should set such a target else there was likely to be additional investment in gas fired generation. That would boost gas’s share of the energy mix and prevent emissions falling enough to meet the government’s targets.

A 30 per cent target would amount to doubling the share of nuclear power in Britain’s electricity mix. The target could be included in the National Policy Statement for nuclear energy, due in the first half of next month, according to de Rivaz.

De Rivaz said: “‘We want to be able to start pouring concrete in 2013. We need to move the argument forward from whether nuclear power is needed. True leadership is to say how much we need, and by when.”

French-owned EDF plans to be the first company to build a new wave of nuclear plants in Britain, and hopes to have the first one operational by the end of 2017.

It expects to have proposals for four reactors, two at Sizewell in Suffolk and two at Hinkley Point in Somerset, to submit to the government’s new Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) when it starts work next March.

EDF has invested GBP12.5bn ($20bn) in Britain’s nuclear industry by buying British Energy, and with new reactors potentially costing GBP5bn a time, its plans will mean a further GBP20bn of investment.

The 30 per cent target would mean about 15 GW of nuclear capacity, which is not far from what is already proposed. EDF’s plans add up to 6.4 GW, and E.ON and RWE, the German energy groups, have formed a joint venture for nuclear new build which has signalled it could invest in a further 6 GW.

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