Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly told nuclear industry bosses he plans for the UK to get 25% of its electricity needs from nuclear power.
He hosted a roundtable at Downing Street yesterday with leaders from the nuclear industry, including the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), Aviva Investors and Rolls-Royce, to discuss how to improve domestic energy security and rapidly accelerate nuclear projects in the UK.
The meeting comes as Britain is trying to find ways to reduce its reliance on Russian imports by boosting domestic energy production.
The UK has six generating nuclear power stations, providing around 16% of the country’s electricity, however, three plants will retire by March 2024 and all but one will retire by 2030.
The prime minister made clear he wants nuclear to be a “major part” of the UK’s future energy system “as a clean, reliable and safe energy source”, setting out the government’s commitment to support the industry to develop a pipeline of future nuclear projects in a cost-effective way.
He invited views on how the UK can accelerate rapid progress on security new capacity and discussed the benefits of scaling up investment and removing barriers facing development.
Industry representatives, which also included Balfour Beatty, Bechtel Group Incorporated, EDF Energy and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, set out the various technologies and projects they are developing – from larger nuclear power plants to small modular reactors (SMRs).
Mr Johnson also met with apprentices from EDF Energy and saw a model of Rolls-Royce’s SMR design.
Other organisations that attended the roundtable were L&G, MACE, NAMRC, Nuclear Power Jacobs, NuScale, Rothesay Life, Westinghouse Electric Company, Urenco and USS.
According to statistics from the NIA, nuclear power saved the UK 2.32 billion tonnes of carbon emissions, far more than any other source and equivalent to all UK emissions from 2015 to 2020.
Following the meeting with the prime minister, NIA Chief Executive Tom Greatrex added: “Accelerating nuclear projects is absolutely essential to keep energy costs down, cut expensive gas imports and strengthen our energy security as we move towards net zero.
“That means urgently investing in a fleet of large and small nuclear stations, alongside renewable investment, to deliver the clean, sovereign power we need.”