According to a CBI study, 16GW of new nuclear energy - equating to ten to 12 reactors at six to ten new power stations - will have to be built on existing nuclear sites to meet carbon reduction targets by 2030. But environmental experts have insisted that it is more important to focus on EU renewables targets for 2020.
AECOM associate director Rob Shaw argued that nuclear should only play a small role. "It is simplistic to say we need to build a certain number of nuclear plants. We need to put our effort into renewable energy as a long-term option," he said.
GL Hearn environmental planning director Michael Lee-Wright commented: "We are desperately trying to solve the issue of climate change and in doing so we may be creating more problems by choosing nuclear. It is carbon efficient but it is not renewable and it is not consistent with the drive to sustainable energy sources."
Bircham Dyson Bell partner Robbie Owen stressed that the report's findings are only relevant in the context of the government's forthcoming national policy statement on nuclear power.