UK Government Officially Launched ‘Great British Nuclear’

The UK Government has officially launched its flagship body Great British Nuclear (GBN).

GBN will drive the rapid expansion of new nuclear power plants in the UK at an unprecedented scale and pace. This will boost UK energy security, reduce dependence on volatile fossil fuel imports, create more affordable power and grow the economy, with the nuclear industry estimated to generate around £6 bn (€6.9 bn) for the UK economy.

the UK Department for Energy Security and Net Zero stated in the press release.

The launch of GBN can support the UK Government’s ambition to provide up to a quarter of the UK’s electricity from homegrown nuclear energy by 2050 and achieve among the cheapest wholesale electricity prices in Europe, whilst supporting jobs across the country.

The grant funding package announced yesterday totals up to £157 million (€181 million):

  • Up to £77.1 million (€89 million) of funding for companies to accelerate advanced nuclear business development in the UK and support advanced nuclear designs to enter UK regulation, maximising the chance of small and advanced modular reactors being built during the next Parliament.
  • Up to £58 million (€66.9 million) funding for the further development and design of a type of advanced modular reactor (AMR) and next generation fuel.

The winning projects of this latest phase of funding are:

  • up to £22.5 million (€26 million) to Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation UK in Warrington to further develop the design of a high temperature micro modular reactor, a type of AMR suited to UK industrial demands including hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuel production
  • up to £15 million (€17.3 million) to the National Nuclear Laboratory in Warrington to accelerate the design of a high temperature reactor.
  • up to £16 million (€18.5 million) to the National Nuclear Laboratory in Preston to continue to develop sovereign coated particle fuel capability, a type of robust advanced fuel which is suitable for high-temperature reactors

A further £22.3 million (€25.7 million) from the Nuclear Fuel Fund will enable 8 projects to develop new fuel production and manufacturing capabilities in the UK, driving up energy security and supporting the global move away from Russian fuel. Winning projects include:

  • over £10.5 million (€12.1million) to Westinghouse (ENS Corporate Member) Springfields nuclear fuel plant in Preston to manufacture more innovative types of nuclear fuel for customers both in the UK and overseas, boosting jobs and skills in the North West
  • over £9.5 million (€11 million) to Urenco (ENS Corporate Member) UK in Capenhurst Chester, an international supplier of nuclear materials, to enrich uranium to higher levels, including LEU+ and high assay low enriched uranium (HALEU).
  • over £1 million (€1.2 million) has also been awarded to Nuclear Transport Solutions, a subsidiary of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, to develop transport solutions to facilitate a supply chain for HALEU in the UK and internationally.
  • over £1.2 million (€1.4 million) to support MoltexFLEX, a UK molten salt reactor developer based in the North West, to build and operate rigs for the development of molten salt fuel. Molten Salt Reactors (MSRs) are an AMR type that uses molten salt as a coolant and fuel, leading to intrinsic safety compared with conventional fuels.

Read more on the UK Government Official Press Release

The Nuclear Institute (ENS Member Society) already welcomed the very first announcement of the Great British Nuclear (GBN) made by the UK Government in March.

Jas Sidhu, President of the Nuclear Institute said:

Great British Nuclear is a key part of the UK’s journey to Net Zero through the ambitious target of 24 GW of nuclear generated electricity by 2050 as well as helping to achieve energy security. Both Government, industry and potential investors must move quickly to in order to fully realise the benefits of this programme.

Sarah Beacock, CEO of the Nuclear Institute added:

An important part of supporting GBN will be the provision of highly skilled and experienced professionals and developing a pipeline of skills for future nuclear projects. As the only dedicated professional membership body for the nuclear industry, the NI fully supports GBN’s mission.

Read the latest NI Response to Great British Nuclear Launch here.