The Great Debate UK

Justification of new nuclear power in the UK


Paul Dorfman- Paul Dorfman is with the Nuclear Consultation Group and a senior research fellow at the University of Warwick. The opinions expressed are his own.

“Justification” of new-build nuclear power is a high-level assessment of whether the benefits of building new nuclear plants outweigh the detriments. Once the justification decision has been taken it will be difficult if not impossible to re-open this major issue.

And there are real problems – for example, information on how radiation-waste and radiation-spent fuel from any new nuclear build could possibly be managed, or the health impact of radiation-discharges will not be fully assessed until after the “Justification” decision is taken. “Justification” of new-build nuclear power will be decided even before the new reactor design is assessed.

Also there are significant data gaps in the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) Application on which “Justification” is built. There is simply not enough information presented by the NIA in their application to make a rational decision about whether new nuclear build is warranted or not. For such a significant process, the Justification timeline is short, and decisions will take place in closed session – far from public scrutiny.