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Power Stations: Carbon Emissions

Volume 459: debated on Monday 30 April 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what change there has been in carbon dioxide emissions from power generation since the programmed closure of older nuclear power stations began; how the power generated by those stations has been replaced; and what net change there has been in carbon dioxide emissions as a result of the replacement generation. (132110)

I have been asked to reply.

Since 2000, six older nuclear power stations with a total generation capacity of approximately 2 GW have closed. Total carbon dioxide emissions from the power generation sector over the same period (2000-05) have increased by nearly 5 million tonnes of carbon. The level of carbon emissions from the power sector depends on a number of factors, including the level of demand and the wholesale electricity price, which is underpinned by the price of fossil fuels and the price of carbon in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.

The impact of the closure of nuclear power stations on emissions will depend on the assumptions about the stations which have replaced them. If the capacity has been replaced by generation technologies that emit carbon (such as gas-fired generation, for example) then it is likely that the closure of the older nuclear capacity will have contributed to the rise in carbon emissions from the power sector between 2000 and 2005.