Nuclear renaissance could create £10bn for UK says top scientist

THE UK should stick with nuclear power to fuel the country cleanly and create around 40,000 jobs, the government’s former chief scientist said yesterday.

Sir David King said the UK can generate £10bn over the next 50 years by working on a “nuclear renaissance”, through recycling nuclear materials and storing waste more safely.

“We are talking about a £10bn boost to the economy from the British government taking the opportunity to build mixed-oxide plants, and 40,000 jobs over the next 20 to 30 years,” King told Radio 4 yesterday.

“We now have enough [nuclear] material produced by reprocessing to power the UK for the next 60 years.”

King said the Japanese quake has proven how safe nuclear power is. “They passed the earthquake test in that 16 reactors, including the ones at Fukushima, were shut down within two minutes of the quake,” he said.

“We have a situation in which more than 15,000 fatalities occurred in the tsunami, none directly linked to radiation, and in my view it’s very unlikely that there will be.”

King estimated that power generators would save between £346m and £1.2bn in carbon taxes by building newer, mixed-oxide nuclear plants.