Britain ‘risks losing £4bn a year nuclear industry’

Nuclear expertise in the UK is under threat as new projects are being given away to foreign companies, a new report claims. It suggests the UK Government needs to do […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Nuclear expertise in the UK is under threat as new projects are being given away to foreign companies, a new report claims.

It suggests the UK Government needs to do more to ensure British firms benefit from nuclear projects over the coming years else “risk losing its £4 billion a year industry”.

The news comes as three foreign companies – French state-owned EDF and Japan’s Toshiba and Hitachi – are set to build new nuclear power stations in the UK.

In the report by think tank Civitas, Candida Whitmill, Managing Director of Penultimate Power, a UK-led consortium to build Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) – i.e. reactors that are less than 300MW – calls for government support for a new line of smaller reactors.

She claims SMRs are quicker to build, could be manufactured largely in the UK and could provide “an attractive alternative to the high-risk and eye-wateringly expensive projects currently planned”.

Ms Whitmill said: “Outsourcing nuclear power projects that the UK will be committed to for the next 60 years must be handled carefully if our indigenous industry is not to be diminished.

“International investment is welcome, if in collaboration with UK businesses. The government has two options; let the UK become merely a host nation when other nations can springboard their global nuclear ambitions and lose our own nuclear capability; or choose to let the start of a new-build programme of nuclear power reignite the UK’s nuclear supply chain, expand our fuel cycle facilities and showcase our world-class research and development capability.”

ELN has contacted DECC and is waiting for a comment.