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UK to Offer Grants to Builders of Small Reactors in Nuclear Push – Bloomberg

  • Government launches competition with funds totaling £157m
  • UK seeks to rebuild energy infrastructure, cut fossil reliance
(Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg)

Priscila Azevedo Rocha, Bloomberg News

EnergiesNet.com 07 18 2023

The UK announced a funding package to support nuclear power generated by small modular reactors in a bid to boost energy security while lowering the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels.

The government will provide grants totaling £157 million ($205 million) for companies to accelerate their nuclear business in the UK, as well as develop new reactors, it said on Tuesday with the launch of a competition. The bid is part of the “Great British Nuclear” initiative aimed at boosting the country’s industry, including to develop new technology so the UK can hit its target of providing up to a quarter of the its electricity from domestic nuclear energy by 2050.

The country’s focus on smaller reactors mirrors initiatives in FrancePoland, US and Canada, and offers advantages compared to conventional reactors in that they are more compact and can potentially be built in factories, making construction faster and less expensive. But the reactors are still in early stages of development and have yet to prove if they can be cost-competitive and function well in a grid increasingly dominated by variable renewable power sources.

The UK and the rest of Europe are seeking to rebuild their energy infrastructure and cut reliance on natural gas following the energy crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.

The government said it remains committed to “mega projects” like Electricite de France SA’s Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C, and will work with GBN to consider the potential role of further large gigawatt-scale nuclear power plants in the UK energy mix.

Last year, it announced a £700 million investment to cover roughly 50% of the development costs for Sizewell C, seeking to encourage the private sector to help bring the project to a final investment decision. It has, however, struggled to secure investments in major projects, which can take more than a decade to build and cost over £20 billion.

— With Will Mathis

bloomberg.com 07 17 2023

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