As part of the establishment of a new organisation to aid the nuclear power sector, the UK government will provide grants totalling £157 million.
Great British Nuclear (GBN) will be charged with assisting the government in fulfilling its pledge to supply 25% of the UK’s electricity from nuclear sources by 2050.
According to Grant Shapps, the energy security secretary, the new organisation will encourage the rapid construction of nuclear power facilities in the UK, increase energy security, and lessen reliance on imports of fossil fuels.
The government anticipates that the development of small modular reactors (SMRs), which it believes would be less expensive and more quickly constructed than conventional large nuclear power plants, will attract billions of pounds in investment.
SMRs, according to scientists and environmental activists, have no proven track record, and more time and money would be better spent on renewable energy sources like expanding offshore wind.
Tuesday’s launch at the Science Museum in London was postponed from last week because it conflicted with the government’s announcement of the public sector wage accord.
The only conventional major reactor that has so far benefited from the government’s earlier efforts to get funding is the Somerset-based Hinkley Point C nuclear station, which is both overdue and overbudget.
Shapps anticipates announcing the competition’s winners in the autumn, with companies including Rolls-Royce and Hitachi interested in creating SMRs.
The Sizewell C nuclear power station in Suffolk, which was announced last year and is supported with £700 million in public cash, as well as Hinkley Point C, were both mentioned by the government as projects to which it was still committed.
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