UK forges ‘energy independence’ with new mini nuclear reactor funding

The grants will support the development of Rolls-Royce SMR

Pathway to COP26 report

The government has today announced it will boost the development of new nuclear power with £210 million.

The new funding will support the design of Rolls-Royce Small Modular Reactor (SMR) and will be paired with private funding of more than £250 million.

The investment is supposed to mark the start of the second phase of the project that will include the assessment of the suitability of potential deployment in the UK.

A few days ago, the government has unveiled plans for a new financing model for nuclear projects, known as the Regulated Asset Base.

It has also pledged to inject around £1.7 billion into at least one large-scale nuclear project to a final investment decision.

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the UK to deploy more low carbon energy than ever before and ensure greater energy independence.

“SMRs offer exciting opportunities to cut costs and build more quickly, ensuring we can bring clean electricity to people’s homes and cut our already-dwindling use of volatile fossil fuels even further.”

In reaction to the announcement, Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association said: “Match funding for Rolls-Royce SMR sends a huge signal to private investors that the government wants SMRs alongside new large-scale stations to hit net zero. It also shows investors that the government believes in nuclear as a green technology.

“Britain is leading the way in developing this technology and as we move towards a low carbon world, there is real opportunity to export to international markets.”

Watch what Fatih Birol said at a COP26 event organised by the UK Presidency about the role of nuclear power in the net zero future.

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