UK Gov’t Supports Urenco in Building An Advanced Fuels Facility

The UK Government announced funding of £196m (€227.5m) to Urenco (ENS Corporate Member) to support the building of an advanced fuels facility at the Capenhurst enrichment site in the northwest of England.

This will help to facilitate the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero’s High Assay Low Enriched Uranium (HALEU) Programme, announced in January.

According to the UK Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, the new facility will support around 400 highly-skilled jobs, helping to boost the local supply chain and grow the economy.

HALEU is uranium enriched up to 20% and will be needed to fuel advanced reactor designs.

The responsibility the nuclear industry has to help governments and customers to achieve climate change and energy security goals is clear. We welcome this government investment, which will help accelerate the development of a civil HALEU commercial market and in-turn the development of the next generation of nuclear power plants.

Boris Schucht, CEO of Urenco, said.

Read the full announcement from UK DESNZ here.

HALEU is needed to power most advanced modular reactors which are crucial to meeting the global ambition to multiply nuclear capacity by 2050. Like small modular reactors (SMRs), they can be made in factories and transform how power stations are built by making construction faster and less expensive.

These advanced reactors are more efficient and use novel fuels, coolants, and technologies to generate low-carbon electricity. Their high heat output means they can also be used to decarbonise industry, produce hydrogen for transport or heat for homes.

The importance of long-term strategies, investments, and further efforts towards diversification of suppliers to ensure nuclear fuel cycle security is a topic that ENS, together with Urenco, Euratom Supply Agency (ENS Member) and Orano, recently discussed in the event “Fuelling Europe’s Future – Uranium Supply, Conversion and Enrichment“, which took place in Brussels on 25th October.

Read more about the event in our follow-up newsletter.