Nuclear power is set to be prioritised in the UK, as Boris Johnson has announced an expansion of nuclear power plants to help take back control of energy prices.

Ministers are promising “cleaner and more affordable energy” to be made in this country, aiming to make 95% of electricity low carbon by 2030.

The Prime Minister said the strategy, including new nuclear and offshore wind plans, would reduce the UK’s dependence on foreign sources of energy.

There has been particular worldwide concern about the reliance on Russian oil and gas since the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Northern Echo: There are plans for more nuclear power plants to be built in the UK (Canva)There are plans for more nuclear power plants to be built in the UK (Canva)

Under the Government’s fresh plans a new body, Great British Nuclear, will be launched to bolster the UK’s nuclear capacity with the hope of up to 24 gigawatts (GW) of electricity by 2050 coming from the source of power, 25% of the projected electricity demand.

It is hoped the focus on nuclear will deliver up to eight reactors, equivalent to one reactor a year instead of once a decade.

READ MOREBoris Johnson promises nuclear expansion to bring down energy costs

The strategy also confirmed the intention to push ahead with a nuclear project at the Wylfa site on the island of Anglesey, off the northwest coast of Wales.

These are bold ambitions, but how many nuclear power plants already exist in the UK?

How many nuclear power plants are there in the UK?

Currently, there are five active nuclear power plant sites spread out across the UK.

They are located at:

  • Hartlepool, Durham
  • Heysham, Lancashire
  • Hinkley Point, Somerset
  • Sizewell, Suffolk
  • Torness, East Lothian

Both Heysham and Hinkley Point have two reactors, with a third currently in construction at Hinkley Point.

Sizewell also has two distinct power stations.

Is nuclear energy clean?

As reported by BBC News unlike fossil fuels, nuclear power stations do not produce greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide or methane - and 1kg of nuclear fuel produces millions of times more energy than 1kg of coal.

However, nuclear power is not a renewable energy source, and building the power plants themselves does create emissions.

The long-term environmental consequences of dealing with nuclear waste are also unclear.