UK funds next generation of ‘mini’ nuclear power plants
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.