CIGI Papers, January, 2009
Considerable debate over the future of the United Kingdom's nuclear power industry resulted in publication of a white paper in January 2008 and ambitious proposals for a new build. While nuclear power has met about one fifth of UK electricity needs in the past decade, about one third of Britain's total electricity generating capacity is expected to need replacing over the next 20 years, partly because most existeing nuclear power stations will close. Concrns about security of supply and climate change frame the UK debate, and while the government has concluded that new nuclear build is a major part of any solution, public opinion remains deeply divided - not least because of the legacy of costly and inefficient former UK nuclear projects. This paper explores the status and prospects of the British nuclear industry, including its history, UK energy strategy and the evolving regulatory framework, and discusses the continuing concerns surrounding the prospective new nuclear build in the UK.
If ever there was a country for which the catchphrase "nuclear renaissance" truly applied, it would be Russia. In the Soviet Union, nuclear energy served as a symbol of technological progress and scientific achievement in the country's rivalry with the West. However, the march of Soviet nuclear progress was brought to a halt by the nuclear accident involving a Soviet-designed reactor at Chernobyl in 1986. After languishing for two decades, the nuclear industry in Russia has recently been greeted with renewed funding and enthusiasm. This paper explores the goals and challenges of the Russian nuclear power industry, discussing its status and prospects.