Weekly News Review
15 January 2024
The government has this week outlined plans for the biggest expansion of nuclear power for 70 years to reduce electricity bills, support thousands of jobs and improve UK energy security. The plans include exploring building a major new power station and investing up to £300 million in advanced nuclear fuel production.
The Civil Nuclear Roadmap outlines how the UK will increase nuclear generation capacity by up to four times to 24GW by 2050. This includes the next steps for exploring a GW-scale power plant as big as Sizewell in Suffolk or Hinkley Point C in Somerset. The roadmap also includes a government ambition to secure 3-7GW worth of investment decisions every 5 years from 2030 to 2044 on new nuclear projects.
The plans also include a commitment to invest up to £300 million in UK production of the fuel required to power high-tech new nuclear reactors, known as HALEU, which is currently only commercially produced in Russia. The UK will become the first country in Europe to launch a HALEU programme, with the first plant aiming to be operational early in the next decade.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “Nuclear is the perfect antidote to the energy challenges facing Britain – it’s green, cheaper in the long term and will ensure the UK’s energy security for the long-term. This is the right long-term decision and is the next step in our commitment to nuclear power, which puts us on course to achieve net zero by 2050 in a measured and sustainable way.”
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, Claire Coutinho, said: “Strengthening our energy security means that Britain will never again be held to ransom over energy by tyrants like Vladimir Putin. British nuclear, as one of the most reliable, low-carbon sources of energy around, will provide that security.”
“We’re making the biggest investment in domestic nuclear energy in 70 years. Our £300 million plan to produce advanced nuclear fuel in the UK will supply nuclear plants at home and overseas – further weakening the Kremlin’s grip on global energy markets. From large gigawatt projects to small modular reactors, the UK’s wider nuclear revival will quadruple our nuclear capacity by 2050 – helping to power Britain from Britain.”
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