The future of the nuclear industry in the United Kingdom is considered from the perspective of the new public sector utility, Nuclear Electric, set up to retain control of nuclear power stations on the privatization of the rest of the electricity supply industry. Two major objectives are the increased nuclear generation of electricity and the cutting of costs. These are discussed in terms of life extension programmes for the magnox reactors, improved performance of AGR reactors and expectations for the Sizewell B PWR station now under construction; waste management, reactor decommissioning and fuel-cycle costs are also considered. Economic, environmental and political criteria are outlined which need to be addressed in relation to the government's review of nuclear power in 1991. Because of the marginal economic advantages of nuclear power in the United Kingdom, it will be important to quantify the environmental and diversity benefits of this source. (UK).