Following a 30-year lag in nuclear power plant building around the world, mostly due to environmental and political concerns, the U.K. nuclear supply chain has received a £13 million investment in order to construct the first nuclear power plant in the United Kingdom in 20 years. The money is coming from Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and a number of other public funding organizations. Michael Fallon, the U.K. energy minister said, “This funding will help U.K. companies to compete for contracts in areas like construction, manufacturing, operation, maintenance and decommissioning and waste. We want to build a robust U.K.-based supply chain for existing and future nuclear power stations.” Worldwide, about 60 nuclear power facilities are under construction at any given time, according to the World Nuclear Association. Much of this construction is in Asia. The United States and Russia also have new plans to begin construction on additional nuclear power facilities in those nations. In the United States, much emphasis has gone into extending the life of existing nuclear power facilities instead of building new ones.
As the world struggles to find a solution to the impending energy crisis, many cite nuclear power as a sustainable solution over the long-term. However, environmental concerns, especially following the crisis at the Fukushima facility which was heavily damaged in the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2011 and continues to leak radioactive waste materials into the Pacific Ocean, make it difficult for many governments to get approval to build new nuclear facilities.
Supporters of the development of nuclear power generation maintain that nuclear facilities, when built and maintained properly, are among the safest, cleanest, and most sustainable ways to generate the power humans need in the coming years. As the United States phases out coal power plants, and solar and wind power generation are not yet capable of producing the energy needed to run businesses and industries, nuclear becomes a more practical and affordable option.