Nuclear Energy In The United Kingdom
Nuclear power generates around one sixth of the United Kingdom's electricity, using 16 operational nuclear reactors at nine plants (14 advanced gas-cooled reactors, one Magnox and one pressurised water reactor), as well as a nuclear reprocessing plant at Sellafield.
The United Kingdom's first commercial nuclear power reactor began operating in 1956 and, at the peak in 1997, 26% of the nation's electricity was generated from nuclear power. Since then a number of reactors have closed and the share had declined to 19.3% by 2004 and approximately 16% by 2009. The remaining Magnox plant will close in 2014. The older AGR reactors have been life-extended, and further life-extensions across the AGR fleet are likely.
In October 2010 the British Government permitted private suppliers to construct up to eight new nuclear power plants. However the Scottish Government, with the backing of the Scottish Parliament, has stated that no new nuclear power stations will be constructed in Scotland. In March 2012, E.ON UK and RWE npower announced they would be pulling out of developing new nuclear power plants, placing the future of nuclear power in the UK in doubt. Despite this, EDF Energy is still planning to build four new reactors at two sites, with public consultation completed and initial groundwork beginning on the first two reactors, sited at Hinkley Point in Somerset.
Of the nine currently operating nuclear plants in the UK, EDF Energy operates eight with a combined capacity of almost 9,000 megawatts, while Wylfa power station is run by Magnox Ltd. All nuclear installations in the UK are overseen by the Office for Nuclear Regulation.
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