Nuclear energy is essential to the United Kingdom — in 2012, it accounted for nearly a fifth of the nation’s electricity (down from a high of 26 percent in 1997). But the plants that supply much of that power are slowly being phased out.
The UK’s first commercial nuclear power plant came online in 1956 (it closed in 2003); others soon followed. There are nine currently in operation, all but one have been used since the 1980s. Three were ‘born’ in the 70s.
The country is looking to build new, privatized facilities; and it’ll likely rely on investors from countries like China to foot part of the bill. According to the BBC, a new $22.5 billion facility could be announced as soon as next week, the first new plant built in the UK since 1995.
Reuters photographer Suzanne Plunkett traveled across Britain to find the current nuclear plants, shooting each one. The results offer a fascinating glimpse at how these massive facilities, often devoid of any architectural personality, fit onto a landscape of rolling hills, quiet beaches, grazing animals, and charming homes.
See the photos here.
Reprinted with permission from the Atlantic Cities. The original story can be found here.