The stage is set for the expansion of nuclear power in Britain as the UK government launched the Great British Nuclear (GBN) to reduce dependency on fossil fuels.
A move that will help the UK economy to grow and boost the energy security of the country as it becomes self-sufficient and immune from Russian fuel sanctions. This strategy of energy independence is a step in fulfilling the UK government’s net zero targets
The government is kickstarting a competition for the ‘Small Modular Reactor’ or SMR technology through which billions can be invested in nuclear power energy. Both public and private investments are welcomed for these SMR projects which will generate cheap power options along with better job opportunities across the country, ultimately boosting energy security and helping the economy to grow.
Great British Nuclear plans a massive revival of nuclear power in Britain, in a bid to make Britain a global superpower in this area – one that has cutting-edge technologies to create cheaper and cleaner energy.
SMR to fulfil Britain’s energy needs
The Great British Nuclear expansion plan will aid in the nuclear industry generating £6 billion for the UK economy through this new nuclear power plants expansion strategy. As part of the new nuclear power revival strategy companies in the energy sector are encouraged to participate in the SMR technology competition by registering with GBN in order to receive funding support.
The government funding for this competition reiterates the UK government’s commitment to the nuclear industry and its priority of being a leader in the future of nuclear technology. The investment in SMR is crucial as its built on-site and the small structure helps in making them in small factories. This will enable faster and cheaper construction of reactors, ultimately transforming how power stations are built.
The Interim Chairman of Great British Nuclear, Simon Bowen, reiterated the company’s commitment to fulfilling the objectives of the UK government’s new nuclear program.
The SMR projects will help in delivering nuclear power at a scale that satisfies Britain’s energy security issues including sustainability, said Bowen.
GBN will work in tandem with all parties including local communities, the supply chain, the technology vendors and the rest of the industry as it progresses through the program, Bowen added.
Once the initial stage of the SMR competition is done GBN will be down-selecting technologies in Autumn in order to start a detailed discussion with the companies. The organisation will be led by CEO Gwen Parry-Jones and Interim Chairman Simon Bowen.
The cheapest electricity in Europe
The Great British Nuclear’s plan to expand the nuclear power plants in the country will help in fulfilling the government’s 2050 electricity from homegrown nuclear energy target. As a result of this, Britain is likely to have the cheapest wholesale electricity prices in Europe.
The nuclear revival plan isn’t restricted to small reactors alone as the government seeks to increase investments in mega projects like Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C. GBN will look into the prospect of developing large gigawatt nuclear plants.
The government also announced a £157 million funding package for the sector. This includes £77.1 million in funding for advanced nuclear business development in the country. With this funding, companies can develop nuclear designs to be turned into advanced modular reactors during the next Parliament session.
Around £58 million has been allocated to develop a type of advanced modular reactor (AMR) and next-generation fuels. AMRs can withstand high temperatures and are useful in hydrogen power generation and other industrial uses.
So far, the Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation in Warrington and the National Nuclear Laboratory in Warrington have won £22.5 million and £15 million respectively for AMR development in the latest phase of funding.
The government also allocated £22.3 million under the Nuclear Fuel Fund to help in the development of new nuclear fuel and enhance the nuclear manufacturing capabilities of the country. This move aims to reduce the UK’s reliance on Russian fuel.
The Westinghouse Springfields nuclear fuel plant in Preston, Urenco UK in Capenhurst Chester, Nuclear Transport Solutions a subsidiary of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and MoltexFLEX were given £10.5 million, £9.5 million, £1 million and £1.2 million respectively under this scheme.
The first step towards Nuclear Renaissance
Speaking about the nuclear revival plan the UK Energy Security Secretary, Grant Shapps said that boosting homegrown nuclear supply will lower the energy bills of British homes.
This will also mean that the country is self-reliant in terms of energy security, preventing it from being held energy ransom at the hands of tyrants like Putin, said Shapps.
With this initiative Britain will be at the forefront of global innovation and honour its rich history of being a pioneer in the field, Shapps added.
The UK Energy Security Secretary called the nuclear revival plan “the first brush strokes towards nuclear power renaissance” in Britain. One that will make way for decades of economic growth and create well-paid jobs.
The UK Nuclear Minister Andrew Bowie highlighted how Great British Nuclear will transform the way power is generated and consumed in the country.
Bowie hoped that world-class designs will be submitted in this competition and help in developing next-generation nuclear technology in the country.
Strengthening UK’s global position by bypassing Russian fuel dependency
The Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, Tom Greatrex hailed the launch of GBN stressing how it will create jobs and supply 25 per cent of the nation’s future power needs.
While SMR will open up new opportunities for Britain globally as a leader of innovative technologies in the nuclear sector, the Nuclear Fuel Fund will place the country in a good position with its allies as they try to replace Russian fuel, said Greatrex.
This comes at a time when Britain disclosed a plan to create a Global Response Force to tackle threats like Russia.
In 2022, the UK government decided to revitalise the nuclear industry by investing £700 million in the Sizewell C project which will power six million homes for 60 years and create 10,000 jobs. It was the first state-backed nuclear project in 30 years.
#Great #British #Nuclear #world #Russian #fuel #secure #UKs #energy #future