The South West Nuclear Hub welcomes the long-awaited release of the UK Government Energy White Paper, which confirms nuclear’s role in reaching net zero targets, and creating jobs to power the post-Covid economic recovery.
In particular, Advanced Modular Reactors are listed as a priority area in the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, which aims to accelerate the commercialisation of ten innovative low-carbon technologies.
This paper follows on from the recent announcement of the Prime Minister’s ’10 Point Plan’ for investment in energy jobs and climate change technologies. This included the statement: “Pushing nuclear power as a clean energy source and including provision for a large nuclear plant, as well as for advanced small nuclear reactors, which could support 10,000 jobs.”
Beyond Hinkley Point C
One of the key commitments is to bring “at least one large-scale nuclear project to the point of Final Investment Decision by the end of this parliament”. To that end, it has been confirmed that the Government will begin negotiations with EDF, members of the South West Nuclear Hub, to advance the Sizewell C project.
The Government has confirmed it is to enter negotiations with EDF on the @sizewellc project. Simone Rossi, our CEO said: “We’re right behind #NetZero, and by investing in renewables and nuclear at @hinkleypointc Sizewell C we’re supporting decarbonisation while creating jobs.“ pic.twitter.com/84DmhTw44U
— EDF 🇬🇧 (@edfenergy) December 14, 2020
Focus on Advanced Nuclear Technologies
The Paper also announces the creation of a £385m Advanced Nuclear Fund to develop a Small Modular Reactor (SMR) design and an Advanced Modular Reactor (AMR) demonstrator by the “early 2030s”. A Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process for SMR technology will open in 2021, to allow developers to gain approval from regulators.
The commitment to build a commercial fusion power plant by 2040 is restated, following the recent announcement of the STEP (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production) programme opening its siting process, aiming to find a willing host community.
Nuclear Industry Association response
The Nuclear Industry Association published a comprehensive briefing on the Energy White Paper and what it means for nuclear, which you can view here: