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Small and large new nuclear reactors in Britain’s so-called ‘green industrial revolution’

Mail on Sunday 7th Nov 2020, Boris Johnson is poised to launch major plans for a ‘green industrial revolution’ backing a new wave of nuclear power plants to boost the economy and slash Britain’s carbon emissions. The proposals are expected to include the green light to build a nuclear plant at Sizewell C in Suffolk and thenext stage in a programme that would lead to a production line of rapidlyn and more cheaply produced small modular reactors within a decade, The Mail on Sunday understands.

The Government is considering a ‘Made in Britain’ solution that may include a taxpayer-backed injection from an infrastructure growth fund – a plan that would need rubber stamping by the Treasury. Funding could also include backing from British pension funds. It would allow the Government to help subsidise the small modular reactor programme (SMR) with as much as £2billion and a stake in Sizewell C of up to 10 per cent of its £20billion build costs.

Sizewell C is backed by French state-backed EDF Energy, which could become a minority shareholder. Government financing would also help slash the cost of electricity produced by the plant. Britain has eight nuclear power plants, generating about a fifth of the country’s electricity. Seven are due to close by 2030.

The SMR consortium is led by Rolls-Royce and includes construction and engineering companies Assystem, Atkins, BAM Nuttall,
Jacobs and Laing O’Rourke. It hopes to build ten to 15 reactors in the UK, largely on former nuclear sites. Plans are already being discussed for the possibility of joint sites in locations including Moorside in Cumbria – where Japanese multinational Toshiba recently pulled out of developing its own reactor – that could contain a large EDF-backed reactor and a smaller modular reactor, creating a ‘clean energy hub’.

EDF has insisted synergies with Hinkley will mean the cost of energy from a second plant at Sizewell C would be slashed. It is understood site preparations could begin immediately and that planning consent for the project itself could be given
as soon as 2022, meaning the plant could be online by 2032.

November 9, 2020 - Posted by | politics, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK

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