Johnson: Ukraine crisis means ‘big new bets’ on nuclear power needed

The Prime Minister said the UK should use ‘small modular reactors as well as the larger power stations’ in the future.

15 March 2022

The Prime Minister has said there needs to be a “series of big new bets” on nuclear power to make sure the UK’s energy supply is “no longer at the mercy of bullies like Putin”.

Boris Johnson urged the West to end its “addiction” to Russian energy, saying of President Vladimir Putin: “If the world can end its dependence on Russian oil and gas, we can starve him of cash, destroy his strategy and cut him down to size.”

Writing in the Daily Telegraph ahead of the publication of his British Energy Security Strategy this month, Mr Johnson pushed for nuclear power expansion.

“So now is the time to make a series of big new bets on nuclear power,” he said.

“The 1997 Labour manifesto said there was ‘no economic case’ for more nuclear – even though nuclear is in fact safe, clean and reliable.

“It is time to reverse that historic mistake, with a strategy that includes small modular reactors as well as the larger power stations.

“It was the UK that first split the atom. It was the UK that had the world’s first civilian nuclear power plant. It is time we recovered our lead.

“In the years ahead, green technology will enable us to continue our extraordinary progress in reducing carbon emissions. We have switched away from coal-fired power stations and we are switching to electric vehicles.”

The Prime Minister also advocated greater investment in renewables, which he said are “invulnerable to Putin’s manipulations”.

“Renewables are the quickest and cheapest route to greater energy independence,” he wrote.

“They are invulnerable to Putin’s manipulations. He may have his hand on the taps for oil and gas, but there is nothing he can do to stop the North Sea wind.”

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