UK funds next gen­er­a­tion of ‘mini’ nu­clear power plants

Western Mail - - BUSINESS IN WALES -

UP TO £56m of fund­ing is to be of­fered for re­search and de­vel­op­ment in mini-nu­clear plants, the Gov­ern­ment has an­nounced.

The money will be avail­able over the next three years to as­sess the po­ten­tial of de­signs of ad­vanced and small mod­u­lar re­ac­tors (SMRs).

The Gov­ern­ment said it wanted the UK to be­come a world leader in devel­op­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of nu­clear tech­nolo­gies.

SMRs use ex­ist­ing or new nu­clear tech­nol­ogy scaled down to a frac­tion of the size of larger plants, pro­duc­ing around a 10th of the elec­tric­ity created by large-scale projects such as EDF En­ergy’s Hink­ley Point C nu­clear power sta­tion in Som­er­set.

Min­is­ters also an­nounced fund­ing of up to £8m for stud­ies in­clud­ing into ad­vanced fu­els, say­ing it wanted to demon­strate its com­mit­ment to nu­clear “in­no­va­tions of the fu­ture”.

Business Sec­re­tary Greg Clark said: “New in­dus­try fig­ures show that the UK’s civil nu­clear sec­tor con­trib­uted £6.4bn to the UK econ­omy last year. To­day’s an­nounce­ments recog­nise the im­por­tance of in­dus­try driving in­no­va­tion, sup­ported by gov­ern­ment, so the sec­tor con­tin­ues to com­pete at the very high­est level, not just in the UK but glob­ally”

En­ergy min­is­ter Richard Har­ring­ton said con­sul­ta­tions would be held in the new year on the UK’s longterm nu­clear waste man­age­ment strat­egy to en­able the de­vel­op­ment of a multi-bil­lion-pound in­fra­struc­ture project cre­at­ing thou­sands of jobs.

The Gov­ern­ment also listed eight sites as po­ten­tially suitable for the de­ploy­ment of new nu­clear power sta­tions in Eng­land and Wales – Hink­ley Point C, Wylfa, Sel­lafield (more com­monly known as Moor­side), Sizewell, Brad­well, Old­bury, Hartle­pool and Heysham.

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