We must secure 'twice as much investment' in nuclear this decade, says Peter Haslam, public policy adviser at the Nuclear Industry Association.
According to Energy Minister Charles Hendry, it is "a national emergency in terms of our energy security".
He stressed the importance of investment in new nuclear power stations in Parliament last week.
"We must secure twice as much investment each and every year of this decade, compared with the previous decade, to keep the lights on," he said.
"On new build, as on decommissioning, we are keen to control costs. The progress of construction of the first new nuclear power station in the UK will be watched carefully by potential investors and developers.
"We know that an inability to deliver to time and on budget will affect the level of interest in nuclear new build in the future, and that would severely limit the potential for a new nuclear programme."
The UK needs 60GW of new electricity generating capacity and associated infrastructure by 2025 - 35GW from renewables and 25GW from thermal, predominately nuclear (up to 16GW).
Peter Haslam, public policy adviser at the Nuclear Industry Association, told Central Lobby that with cross-party support, plans for new nuclear power stations are at an advanced stage.
"The government is very supportive and very keen to ensure that the UK has nuclear power," he said.
"You will be aware of the debate about the energy market in the UK - the whole purpose of that is to in effect reward low carbon generation both renewables and nuclear.
"In effect what the coalition government is doing is pursuing the policy originated under the previous Labour administration."
Mr Haslam said there are three new build consortia that have plans to build in the UK.
"EDF have plans to build at Hinkley Point in Somerset and subsequently at Sizewell in Suffolk. They are hoping to make an investment decision at the end of this year and once they have taken that, and assuming that they get planning permission, shortly thereafter they will be able to start on the significant work of building that power station.
"Between the three consortia there are plans for 16 gigawatts of plant in the period up to 2025 so we are looking at a significant programme."
They will be the first new nuclear reactors in the UK for around 20 years and will provide enough low carbon electricity to power five million homes.
"They will produce a fraction of the waste that has been produced in earlier reactors," said Mr Haslam.
The UK is considering one of two models for the new stations - Toshiba-owned Westinghouse and its French rival Areva.
"Both are based on international experience, an evolution of the reactors that have had a lot of experience worldwide. People know what to expect and as a result you can have much more confidence in them."
NIA, the trade association and representative voice of the UK’s civil nuclear industry, represents almost 60,000 UK nuclear workers across more than 260 member companies.
Public support for new nuclear power stations remains high, despite the nuclear emergency in the Fukushima plant in Japan in March 2011.
"After Fukushima there was a dip in public support of those in favour of nuclear power," said Mr Haslam.
"Before the accident we had taken polls that showed 40% were favourable and 17% unfavourable, but by June overall favourability had fallen to 28% to 24% unfavourable. The gap had narrowed but favourable still outweighed unfavourable.
"We took another poll in December support for replacement new nuclear had reached 50% with 20% against that was the highest level we had so far."
Despite being more efficient, the new stations will produce some nuclear waste, adding to the UK's sizable stockpile.
The government is consulting on how manage legacy waste, which includes one of the biggest stockpiles of plutonium in the world, as well as whether it is possible to reuse that plutonium as a fuel.
"The issue is the question of nuclear waste and how it should be disposed of in the long term and what the government are considering is disposing of it permanently in an underground depository," said Mr Haslam.
"There is a process that will ultimately result in a community volunteering to host a repository and once that has been achieved the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority would build it and the idea is it would be operational by 2017.
"The waste legacy is fairly broad and includes waste from hospitals and medical practices."
A recent report from IPPR estimated that the new build programme could boost the UK GDP by 0.3% a year.
"That is equivalent to about £5.1bn a year for 15 years," said Mr Haslam.
"It is a major driver for growth in the UK economy and needs to be recognised for that.
"As the new nuclear programme progresses it is clearly going to be extremely good news for the UK economy."