Nuclear Power Stations: Carbon Emissions

Department for Energy and Climate Change written question – answered on 26th February 2016.

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Photo of Jamie Reed Jamie Reed Labour, Copeland

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, if she has made an assessment of the potential effect on carbon dioxide emissions of the life extension of nuclear reactors compared with the use of (a) coal and (b) gas-powered electricity plants producing the same amount of electricity over the same period.

Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

Holding answer received on 24 February 2016

Our existing modelling estimates that in total, 187 TWh of electricity would be generated from the four nuclear plants whose lives have been extended in the period 2019 to 2030; this would lead to 0 MtCO2 emissions. By comparison, approximately 71 MtCO2 would be emitted from 187 TWh of electricity generated from gas CCGT; or 165 MtCO2 if generated from unabated coal. Like nuclear, it is estimated that around 0 MtCO2 would be emitted from the equivalent generation from onshore wind, offshore wind or solar power.

We have not performed exact modelling analysis on the impact that life extension decisions would have on carbon dioxide emissions because the reduction in emissions will depend on which generation technologies contribute to overall generation and the share of each. The mix in addition to nuclear could include a combination of coal, gas or low-carbon technologies.

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