Japanese multinational Toshiba has cancelled plans for a nuclear power plant in Moorside, Cumbria. The plant, set to provide approximately 7% of the UK’s power upon completion, was unable to find a buyer. Toshiba announced the closure of its UK NuGeneration subsidiary, marking a, “...crushing blow to hopes of a revival of the UK nuclear energy industry.”
For decades there has been a healthy debate about which “clean” power is best, from nuclear to solar to hydroelectric to tidal. Following successive nuclear disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima, nuclear has taken a major hit in public opinion. With renewable power generation technologies like solar and wind dropping precipitously in cost, and the temporal and financial obligations of nuclear looming large, is there a future for nuclear? Will we see so-called 4th generation cleaner and safer nuclear plants financed and built well into the future, or will that money find its way to renewable sources instead? What are the potential advantages and risks of an energy supply mix including or excluding nuclear?