Why Britain needs nuclear power as part of a balanced energy policy
A safe and secure supply of affordable, clean energy is vital both to the functioning of a modern economy and to everyone's standard of living, as we have all learned the hard way during the current cost of living crisis. The best way to ensure our energy security is to have more than one source of clean energy - and to have sources of clean energy for which we are not dependent on hostile powers such as Vladimir Putin's Russia.
Renewables are a huge part of this, but in Britain the sun has been known to be obscured by clouds and the wind does not always blow within the range of speeds at which wind turbines can use it for power!
Nuclear power is a proven means of generating low-carbon baseload energy which is not dependent either on the weather or on potentially unreliable foreign powers. That's why is is essential that Nuclear is part of the mix. Nuclear power continues to be an important and proven source of reliable, clean energy, and as a result of the strong baseload provision nuclear already provides, Britain has been able to move faster on a number of our key net zero objectives, reducing our dependence on coal and other fossil fuels and on imported energy. In 2021, nuclear power stations generated 46 TWh of electricity which was 15 per cent of the electricity generated in the UK.
Moving this forward, today, 18th July 2023, the Conservative government announced a significant step in British nuclear power.
- Our aim is to have up to a quarter of all the UK’s electricity coming from nuclear energy – a clean, safe, reliable, and abundant supply of homegrown energy. That’s up to 24 gigawatts of electricity coming from nuclear, enough to power 24 million homes across the country.
- That is why from today, companies can register their interest with Great British Nuclear to secure funding support to develop their products, harnessing billions of pounds of public and private sector investment in small modular reactors. We are also providing a grant funding package of £157 million to rapidly boost our homegrown supply of nuclear and other clean, reliable, energy.
- This will not only boost our energy security, but will also create better-paid jobs across the county, drive down bills in the long-term, and help grow the economy.
We will do this by:
- Driving the rapid expansion of nuclear power by pushing ahead with Great British Nuclear, placing the UK at the forefront of the global race to deliver cleaner and cheaper energy. We are already world leaders when it comes to nuclear energy, having launched the era of civil nuclear power, and now we are going further to secure the rapid expansion of nuclear power in our energy mix through Great British Nuclear.
- Kickstarting a competition for game-changing small modular reactor (SMR) technology, which could result in billions of pounds of investment. From today, companies can register their interest with GBN to participate in a competition to secure funding support to develop their products. This could result in billions of pounds of public and private sector investment in small modular reactor (SMR) projects.
- Announcing grant funding of up to £157 million for nuclear technology development, supporting the development of new technologies as we grow the economy. On top today’s GBN competition, we are announcing a grant funding package totalling up to £157 million for companies to accelerate advanced nuclear business development across the country.
- Adopting the ambition to provide up to a quarter of the UK’s electricity from homegrown nuclear by 2050. Our steps to turbocharge nuclear power will help to reach the goal of a quarter of the UK’s electricity to come from homegrown nuclear by 2050.
- Remaining committed to major nuclear projects like Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C, supporting high skilled energy jobs as we grow the economy. We remain committed to mega nuclear projects such as Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C, which we invested £700 million in – helping in our mission to have the cheapest wholesale electricity prices in Europe.