Wind Energy, UK’s Alternative to Nuclear

Wind Energy UK's Alternative to Nuclear

The UK government requires an alternative plan on nuclear power since many of the old nuclear reactors will be decommissioned and there are no clear plans to replace them. The alternative plan is needed since there is a risk that new reactors won’t be built soon enough to prevent power shortage. This is from a story published on the Guardian.

Fiona Harvey, a writer for the Guardian writes that the hopes of the nuclear industry of UK suffered a blow in recent months when the consortium formed by Horizon Nuclear Power collapsed when the Cumbria councilors disallowed the building of a new atomic waste site in their area. EDF SA or Electricity of France, the world’s largest electricity producer and its UK owned EDF Energy that is supposed to build the first nuclear reactor plant has a disagreement with ministers over an increase in energy prices. At the same time, the work on the first new reactors is liable to encounter more resistance. All these endanger the government’s program for building new nuclear plants.

Wind energy is a feasible solution to this problem. A wind farm, once approved, can be operational from six months to a year. On the other hand, building a nuclear power plant can take almost ten years. The present nuclear problem is also caused by the ever increasing cost of nuclear power. Conversely, onshore wind power is by now aggressively competing with gas and coal power and even cheaper than nuclear power. Based on 2010 prices, cost of onshore wind power is about €6.5/kWh while nuclear power is approximately €10 per kilowatt hour. At present, offshore wind power is more expensive than power generated by oil and other renewable fuels. But because of new technological research and development, an increase in investment, and the growth of the wind power industry that leads to economies of scale, it is expected that by 2030, offshore wind power can be fully competitive.

Furthermore, because of the increasing liability and safety cost of nuclear after the nuclear accident in Fukushima Japan, the cost of decommissioning a nuclear plant can be excessive. It is estimated that nuclear decommissioning in the UK would cost about £53 billion which is already equivalent to generating 54GW of online onshore wind power. This is approximately 41{82e5879b62f9f0cbb622da6aeaafa5e16d37c32fcd77ff762e12cec7a1007225} of UK’s power generation.

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