The UK Government has announced a £200m nuclear sector deal to develop new technologies, drive down the costs of nuclear energy, and secure the country’s diverse energy mix.
The new deal aims to ensure that nuclear energy continues to power the UK for years to come through major innovation and technology and increase diversity of the workforce.
UK Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: “Nuclear energy not only fuels our power supply, it fuels local jobs, wages, economic prosperity and drives UK innovation.
“This Sector Deal marks an important moment for the government and industry to work collectively to deliver the modern Industrial Strategy, drive clean growth and ensure civil nuclear remains an important part of the UK’s energy future.”
The deal includes £32m funding for new advanced manufacturing program including research and development (R&D) investment to develop potential nuclear technologies such as advanced modular reactors.
It also includes £86m funding for a national fusion technology platform at the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s Science Centre in Culham, Oxfordshire; and up to £44m in R&D funding for developing advanced molecular reactors.
Additionally, the deal includes development of a £40m thermal hydraulics plant at a former nuclear power site in Trawsfynydd, North Wales as part of the Nuclear Innovation Programme to support the design and development of advanced nuclear technologies, in a partnership with the Welsh Government
Other features of the deal includes a commitment by the industry to reduce the cost of new nuclear projects and decommissioning old nuclear sites by 30% and 20% respectively by 2030.
UK Nuclear Industry Council co-chair Lord Hutton said: “The industry wants nuclear energy to remain competitive against other forms of low-carbon energy - which is why we are committed to working with government to reduce costs across the sector.
“Today’s funding boost will support this common goal; increasing the UK’s industrial capabilities as well as signalling our global leadership in nuclear to the rest of the world.”
The deal also focuses on unlocking growth opportunities in the nuclear supply chain, and delivering 100,000 nuclear jobs by 2021, with a target set for 40% of women to be working in the whole sector by 2030.
UK Business and Industry Minister Richard Harrington said: “Innovation will be crucial to the success or our nuclear industry.
“We want the UK to build on its strength in advanced manufacturing techniques to help position the UK at the forefront of the nuclear technologies of the future.”