Nuclear power

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The page will automatically redirect to Nuclear power Research Briefings produced by the Commons Library, Lords Library and POST

Content published before December 2016

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on nuclear power. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Commons Briefing Papers

15.09.2016New nuclear power
The Government has decided to proceed with Hinkley Point C, the first new nuclear power station for a generation. However, ministers will impose a new legal framework for future foreign investment in Britain's critical infrastructure, which will include nuclear energy and apply after Hinkley.
14.07.2016Commons Library Analysis: UK Fifth Carbon Budget
The Government has to set the UK Fifth Carbon Budget for 2028-2032 and decide whether to follow the advice from the Committee on Climate Change. The draft Carbon Budget Order 2016 is to be considered by the 3rd Delegated Legislation Committee on 18 July 2016.
13.07.2016Sources of Statistics: Energy
This introductory guide provides sources of statistics on energy in the UK.
24.06.2016Energy Policy Overview
This note provides an overview of the current Government's energy policy.
14.05.2014Carbon Price Floor
Details of the Carbon Floor Price and the Government's announcement to freeze prices until 2020
16.12.2013Germany's 2013 election: shaping the future?
Where is Germany - the most influential country in Europe - heading, under its new grand coalition government?
24.10.2013Nuclear power
On 21 October the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change announced that agreement had been reached with EDF to build the UK's first new nuclear power station since Sizewell B was commissioned in 1995.
09.09.2013Nuclear energy statistics
The UK had the first civilian nuclear power station in the world and increased its nuclear output for most of the latter half of the twentieth century. The last nuclear power station to be built in the UK started operating in 1995. Since then output has fallen as some older power stations have been decommissioned. The UK now has among the lowest share of generation from nuclear of all countries with nuclear power. Some aging nuclear power stations have had their operating life extended, but the majority are due to close over the next decade. No new nuclear capacity is due to come online until around 2020. One consequence of being a pioneer of civil nuclear power is large ongoing financial liability for decommissioning old power stations and managing nuclear waste.
24.06.2013Thorium energy
Thorium is an element which, with the right technology, can be used as a fuel for nuclear power. It is claimed to have a range of advantages over uranium including greater abundance, lower radiotoxicity waste, safer operation and weapons proliferation resistance - although some of these are disputed.
30.05.2013Energy Bill 2013 - update for Report stage
The current Energy Bill now has its Report Stage scheduled, for 3 June 2013. This note provides an update to some of the more controversial areas, and to previous Library research briefings on the Bill.

Lords Library Notes

13.06.2013Energy Bill (HL Bill 30 of 2013-14)
The Energy Bill is intended to establish a framework for delivering secure, affordable and low-carbon energy. This Library Note provides background information for the second reading of the Bill in the House of Lords on 18 June 2013.
15.01.2010Debate on 21st January: prospects for nuclear disarmament and strengthening non-proliferation. LLN 2010/002
Debate on 21st January: Prospects for Nuclear Disarmament and Strengthening Non-Proliferation. This Library Note aims to provide background reading for the Debate to be held on Thursday 21st January: 'To call attention to the prospects for multi-lateral nuclear disarmament and for strengthening nuclear non-proliferation' The Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference will take place in May 2010. This Note summarises the main issues addressed in the Foreign Office information paper Lifting the Nuclear Shadow: Creating the Conditions for Abolishing Nuclear Weapons and the Government's agenda for the Review Conference, as laid out in the Cabinet Office paper The Road to 2010: Addressing the Nuclear Question in the Twenty First Century. The Note also chronicles the main developments in the international community since the publication of these papers and summarises some of the contributions to the nuclear debate from a variety of sources, including the views of the UN Secretary General and the former Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
20.03.2009The potential for nuclear proliferation: debate on 26th March 2009. LLN 2009/003
The potential for nuclear proliferation. House of Lords Library Note 2009/003


01.09.2016Managing the UK Plutonium Stockpile
This POSTnote describes the state of the plutonium stockpile, current plutonium policy and the options for managing the plutonium: indefinite storage, reuse in UK power plants, conversion to fuel to send overseas and disposal as waste. It then outlines the safety, security, economic and energy policy implications of these options.
07.09.2015Trends in Energy
Providing affordable, reliable and sustainable energy is a key issue in UK policy. Energy policy can be informed by current energy sector trends and projections into the future. This briefing outlines key trends in energy, the factors driving these changes and future projections. It also highlights the implications and challenges of these trends.
14.02.2014New Nuclear Power Technologies
Nuclear power stations provide a low carbon source of electricity, which could help the UK achieve its policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. This POSTnote reviews new and potential future nuclear power technologies. It also outlines the regulatory approach toward new nuclear build and summarises some of the related challenges.
23.01.2012Measuring Energy Security
This POSTnote explores ways in which energy security may be measured for monitoring purposes.
01.11.2008Future nuclear technologies. November 2008
This POSTnote provides an assessment of nuclear power generation technologies. It looks at the designs of any new UK reactors and outlines details of the regulatory design assessment process, with an emphasis on safety, security and waste. It also looks at longer term research into reactor design and waste management.
01.10.2007Public opinion on electricity options, October 2007
Public opinion on electricity options, October 2007. POSTnote 07/294.

Select Committee Reports

15.11.2011Nuclear research and development capabilities.
Science and Technology Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
16.03.2010Radioactive waste management: a further update.
Science and Technology Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]

Early Day Motions

That this House notes that Americium-241 is a by-product of nuclear power stations such as those in Heysham; further notes that the University of Leicester is now developing radio isotope ...
That this House sends condolences to the island of Cyprus and its people, particularly to the families and friends of those who have died or been injured in the explosion at the Cyprus ...
That this House notes that the disaster of Fukushima continues and intensifies; is gravely concerned at the evacuation of the plant on 10 July 2011 following another powerful earthquake; ...
That this House notes the recent note by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (Post) in respect of the level of carbon emissions from nuclear power (Post Note 383); further ...
That this House notes that 26 April 2011 marks the 25th anniversary of the tragedy which occurred at the Chernobyl nuclear power plants in 1986 and pays tribute to its victims; recognises ...


  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses