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The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has, in a widely publicised call in April this year, asked the Government to clarify its’ stand on longer term carbon emission policy to enable low carbon emission sources like nuclear fuel to play an important role. The CBI has also stated very categorically that nuclear power is the only proven low-carbon technology able to deliver consistent supplies of electricity on a large scale. The advantages of stable operating costs, the availability of nuclear fuel from politically stable countries and the ability to store uranium are practical reasons to work towards the development and commissioning of more nuclear plants. In addition, the operating costs of nuclear power are stable because the cost of fuel varies between only 5 and 10% of total operating costs.The cost of building nuclear power plants, as of now, is far more than that of conventional oil, gas and coal fired plants. Operating costs are however not just lower but also expected to be stable and independent of recurring political upheavals. Two factors are however set to change these circumstances. The cost of fossil fuel, especially oil is on a sharp upward path, threatening to throw all cost projections out of gear. The expected depletion in gas resource and consequent compulsion to buy increasing quantities from outside is also going to come with its own consequences, increased costs definitely one of them. While manufacturers of nuclear power plants are working on reduction of capital cost, a “significant increase in the price of natural gas could make new nuclear plants economically competitive even without further reductions in their capital costs.


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