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Nuclear Power

Question for Department for Energy and Climate Change

UIN 3039, tabled on 17 June 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, pursuant to the contribution of the Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change of 17 June 2015, Official Report, columns 108-112WH, what the evidential basis is for official the statement that nuclear power is a low-carbon, proven technology.

Answered on

23 June 2015

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, which is Parliament's in-house source of independent, balanced and accessible analysis of public policy issues related to science and technology, has produced a briefing note setting out lifecycle carbon emissions of electricity generating technologies. This briefing note states that from a series of peer-reviewed studies, most estimates of nuclear lifecycle emissions internationally are below 26 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated. Some studies referenced in the note place these values much lower even than 26gCO2eq/kWh, with cited UK nuclear generation estimated to be between 5.5 and 7gCO2eq/kWh. These figures are comparable to those for offshore wind generation, stated to be between 5.2 and 13gCO2eq/kWh. Nuclear generation has been a proven, reliable source of electricity generation in the UK and worldwide for decades. The full note on lifecycle carbon emissions is available online at the following address:

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/post/postpn_383-carbon-footprint-electricity-generation.pdf.

Answered by

Department for Energy and Climate Change