Britain’s loyalty to nuclear power

Nuttall, William (2024). Britain’s loyalty to nuclear power. Economia Italiana



This paper explores Britain's 70 year enthusiasm for civil nuclear power. The 1990s brought moves towards electricity market liberalisation and a 'dash for gas' followed. Both Conservative and Labour Party governments wanted to see nuclear new build, but this proved impossible in the face of market liberalisation and external shocks. UK public policy retreated from electricity market liberalisation with a view to keeping the Nuclear Renaissance alive. UK governments on both sides have been loyal to nuclear power, but the nuclear renaissance has struggled. In Britain the main barrier to nuclear new build has been economics, not politics.

Plain Language Summary

An historical overview of the UK experience of civil nuclear power and nuclear new build since 1990. The article is written for a European readership with a focus on energy economics. The article emphasises the importance of economics for UK policy and corporate strategy in this period.

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