Sector - Central Government

Nuclear boom for Britain

Biggest expansion of nuclear power for 70 years will create jobs, reduce bills and strengthen Britain’s energy security.

The UK Government has set out a new roadmap for the adoption of nuclear to increase nuclear generation by up to four times to 24GW by 2050, including the possibility of a new power station as big as Hinkley C and Sizewell C.

The new roadmap marks the launch of a high-tech nuclear fuel programme with up to £300M investment into UK production, the first in Europe.

By quadrupling UK nuclear power by 2050 up to 24GW – the biggest expansion for 70 years – the UK will see reduced electricity bills, the creation of thousands of jobs and improvement of UK energy security.

In the two years since Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, the government has doubled down on security of supply to protect the country from price volatility and hostile foreign regimes and bolster the UK’s energy independence.

The Civil Nuclear Roadmap will give industry certainty of the future direction of the UK’s ambitious nuclear programme, on top of the government’s historic commitment to Sizewell C and world-leading competition to develop small modular reactor (SMR) technology.

Plans include next steps for exploring a GW-scale power plant as big as Sizewell in Suffolk or Hinkley in Somerset, which are capable of powering 6 million homes each.

The government will also invest up to £300M in UK production of the fuel required to power high-tech new nuclear reactors, known as HALEU, currently only commercially produced in Russia.

As the first country in Europe to launch a HALEU programme, the UK will lead the way from its North West production hub to provide the world with this form of uranium fuel, with the first plant aiming to be operational early in the next decade. This builds on the ambition to return uranium conversion to the Springfields nuclear fuel site, both of which are critical to pushing Putin out of the global market.

The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, said: “Nuclear is the perfect antidote to the energy challenges facing Britain – it’s green, cheaper in the long term and will ensure the UK’s energy security for the long-term.

“This is the right long-term decision and is the next step in our commitment to nuclear power, which puts us on course to achieve net zero by 2050 in a measured and sustainable way.

“This will ensure our future energy security and create the jobs and skills we need to level up the country and grow our economy.”

Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, Claire Coutinho, said: “Strengthening our energy security means that Britain will never again be held to ransom over energy by tyrants like Vladimir Putin. British nuclear, as one of the most reliable, low-carbon sources of energy around, will provide that security.

“We’re making the biggest investment in domestic nuclear energy in 70 years. Our £300M plan to produce advanced nuclear fuel in the UK will supply nuclear plants at home and overseas – further weakening the Kremlin’s grip on global energy markets.

“From large gigawatt projects to small modular reactors, the UK’s wider nuclear revival will quadruple our nuclear capacity by 2050 – helping to power Britain from Britain.”

Further to the plans, Great British Nuclear (GBN) will drive the UK’s nuclear ambitions forward, including through the game-changing SMR competition which will soon invite short-listed companies to tender.

Unlike conventional nuclear reactors that are built on site, SMRs are smaller, can be made in factories, and could transform how power stations are built by making construction faster and less expensive. Alongside large gigawatt power stations, SMRs will play a key role in delivering on the expansion of UK nuclear capacity.

As well as powering homes, innovations in the nuclear sector could provide direct heat for industry, energy for green hydrogen production, and medical isotopes for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Minister for Nuclear Andrew Bowie said: “The government’s investment in nuclear will ensure the UK remains at the forefront of technological developments.

“Our plans will give investors the confidence to back new UK projects, with a simpler process for locating new schemes and clear support for private sector companies developing innovative new technologies.

“By meeting a quarter of our electricity demand with nuclear, we will strengthen our energy independence, reduce bills and support jobs across the UK.”