Giving the go-ahead for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point has fired the starting gun for two further nuclear developments.
Horizon Nuclear Power is planning to build an Advanced Boiling Water Reactor, designed by Hitatchi, at Wylfac on Anglesey, which is currently home to two 490MW Magnox nuclear reactors. Meanwhile NuGen, owned by GDF Suez and Iberdrola, has plans for a reactor at Moorside in Cumbria, beside the existing Sellafield nuclear site.
The new Hinkley Point development is based around a Pressurised Water Reactor – or PWR - where heat generated by nuclear fission is transferred to water which is kept under pressure to prevent it turning into steam.
The heated water is piped through a steam generator where its heat turns a separate source of water into steam, which spins turbines to generate electricity.
Advanced Boiling Water Reactors – or ABWRs - meanwhile, use heat from the reactor to generate steam to spin the turbines directly. While PWRs are operating already in the UK, ABWRs are new to the UK and still have to pass detailed British safety checks.
Each new reactor is likely to involve investments of up to £20 billion, which means the total investment in new nuclear reactors could hit £60 billion over the next 10 to 12 years.