The UK Government has launched a £120m fund to unlock and accelerate new nuclear technologies while encouraging new players into the market.
The Government says that nuclear is a key part of the UK’s energy mix, stimulating investment in nuclear as a clean energy technology of the future. It also helps reduce dependence on global gas markets, boosts UK energy independence, and protects consumers from high energy bills. BBC News reports that efforts for new nuclear plants will increase household energy costs, though only by “a few pounds a year” according to officials.
The Future Nuclear Enabling Fund is expected to help realise the Government’s ambition to approve eight new reactors by 2030, as committed in its Energy Security Strategy. It is to help mature potential nuclear projects ahead of any Government process to select new projects. The fund will provide targeted, competitively-allocated government grants to support construction projects, including for small modular reactors, and attract the private investment needed to help make them a reality.
As it announced the new funding, the Government also announced that it had appointed a new Industry Advisor that will lead and drive its proposals for a new Great British Nuclear vehicle. Government announced the new body in its Energy Security Strategy. It will be charged with helping projects through the development process and developing a resilient pipeline of new builds. The new body will also help realise the Government’s ambition of generating up to 24 GW of nuclear sourced-energy by 2050.
New Industry Advisor Simon Bowen will report jointly to the Secretary of State of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and the Prime Minister. He will develop a plan for setting up Great British Nuclear. Government said it will work with industry to scope the functions of the new entity, building on UK industrial strengths and expertise.
Through the new body, the UK expects to start a selection process in 2023 for further UK nuclear projects, aiming to enter negotiations with the most credible, potentially leading to Government support.
Kwarsi Kwarteng, Secretary of State for BEIS, said the new fund “will push forward our plan to deploy a new fleet of nuclear power stations as part of a British nuclear renaissance.
“By encouraging new companies to come forward and build in Britain, we can spur greater competition in the market to cut development costs so consumers benefit in the long-term.
“Nuclear is central to our long-term plan to bolster the UK’s energy security with cheaper, cleaner, home-grown power, while creating thousands of high-skilled jobs across our country.”
Source: The Chemical Engineer