UK seizes the day with new nuclear strategy
A new industrial strategy published by the UK government sets out detailed plans to enable the country to make the most of opportunities for economic growth in the nuclear energy sector at home and abroad.
The strategy sees the mission and role of the NNL change to enable it to take on a more central role in advising the government on nuclear issues and strategic research projects. The NNL will also be responsible for hosting the Nuclear Innovation Research Office (NIRO) which will take forward the work of the newly-created Nuclear Innovation Research Advisory Board (NIRAB), which will work to help define a national nuclear energy R&D program.
Vince Cable said that the nuclear industry provided significant opportunities for economic growth, while Ed Davey noted that nuclear and other low-carbon power would be crucial to the UK going forward. “We need all our energy options in play in the fight against climate change, and to keep the lights on in a way that is affordable to consumers. Not just this decade, but to 2050 and beyond,” he said.
The strategy has been widely welcomed by spokespeople from the nuclear industry and academic sectors. UK Nuclear Industry Association chairman Lord Hutton applauded the government’s “firm commitment” to nuclear’s continuing role, while the UK government’s chief scientific advisor John Beddington said the announcements on R&D and skills were the first steps to meeting potential future demands that could exceed current new-build plans.
The strategy is published a week after planning consent was granted for Hinkley Point C, the UK’s first new nuclear power plant in 25 years. EDF Energy plans to build two Areva EPR reactors at the site, but the company has yet to reach a final investment decision on the project. Discussions are still ongoing between EDF subsidiary Nuclear New Build Generation and the UK government about financial terms for the project. Under the contract for difference (CfD) mechanism, a generator’s income would be topped up when market prices for power are below a so-called strike price. Strike prices are to be set for all forms of low-carbon power generation.
Source: World Nuclear News