‘Unprecedented’ construction of new nuclear power plants announced


Construction of new nuclear power plants in the UK is set to get underway at an “unprecedented scale and pace”. 

nuclear power plants

Great British Nuclear (GBN) will provide funding to firms as part of a drive to ‘rapidly expand’ a programme of small modular reactor (SMR) projects across the country.    

The initiative aims to reduce UK dependence on fossil fuel imports, generate more affordable power, and grow the UK economy, said the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ). 

It could also result in “billions of pounds” of public and private sector investment, it added. 

It is understood the scheme is also a response to Russian president Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, which has impacted the energy sector. Millions from the Nuclear Fuel Fund is being channelled into new fuel production and manufacturing in a “move away from Russian fuel”. 

Also, the UK Government wants to ensure up to a quarter of the UK’s electricity is from “homegrown nuclear energy” by 2050. 

Arup will lead a knowledge sharing initiative to reduce time, risk and cost of programme delivery. 

Companies can now register their interest with GBN, an arms-length body responsible for driving new nuclear projects. 

Unlike conventional reactors built on site, SMRs are smaller, can be made in factories and could transform how power stations are built by making construction faster and less expensive. 

Last year, the government committed to invest £700 million in Sizewell C which, subject to approval, could create 10,000 jobs at peak construction. 

It also just announced up to £157 million to fund design and development of a type of advanced modular reactor (AMR), next generation fuel, and advanced nuclear business development in the UK. 

A proposal selection process is due to take place in the Autumn. 

“The launch of GBN marks a new era for nuclear deployment in the UK – helping drive a programme of construction at pace and at scale to strengthen our energy security, create good jobs across the country, and advance our net zero future by providing up to 25% of our future power needs,” said Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association. 

Simon Bowen, interim chair of GBN, added: “We look forward to working with all interested parties – technology vendors, the supply chain, the wider industry and local communities as we move this essential programme forward.”  

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