The UK government has launched a new competition with the aim of boosting the country’s commitment to nuclear power, including small modular reactors (SMRs).
Announced by Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps, Great British Nuclear (GBN) is an initiative that the government hopes will drive rapid expansion of new nuclear power plants.
GBN invites companies to register their interest to participate in a competition for funding support to develop their products, with the potential for billions of pounds of public and private investment in SMR projects in the UK.
Ultimately, it is hoped the move will enhance energy security, reduce reliance on volatile fossil fuel imports, and promote affordable power – with the potential to generate around £6bn for the UK economy.
SMRs are smaller than traditional reactors and are manufactured in factories, enabling faster and more cost-effective construction.
Grant Shapps said that, with the help of SMRs, the UK’s history as a “pioneer” of nuclear power would be “reignited”, driving the country’s energy revival and global innovation.
He emphasised the need for a swift expansion of nuclear and other clean energy sources to reduce energy costs and ensure the UK’s energy independence.
In addition to GBN’s launch, the government is announcing a grant-funding package to accelerate the development of advanced nuclear technologies in the UK.
The funding aims to support the design and development of advanced modular reactors (AMRs) and next-generation fuel, facilitating high-temperature heat for hydrogen and industrial applications alongside nuclear power.
The government believes that this nuclear power revival, along with the focus on SMRs, will help to position the UK as a global leader in the nuclear industry.
Image credit: Natali _ Mis/Shutterstock
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