Government offers £157m to kickstart UK’s nuclear energy innovation

The UK government is offering nuclear companies the chance to secure more than £157m of grant funding as it looks to help drive the expansion of new power plants in the UK at an unprecedented scale and pace.

Energy security secretary Grant Shapps is launching the Great British Nuclear (GBN) initiative as part of a move designed to put the UK at the front of the global race to develop cutting-edge technologies, which are expected to deliver cleaner, cheaper, more secure energy.

From today, companies can register to be in with a chance to win funding to develop their products, potentially resulting in billions of pounds of public and private sector investment in small modular reactor (SMR) projects in the UK.

The government claims the move will boost UK energy security, reduce dependence on volatile fossil fuel imports, create more affordable power and grow the economy. The nuclear industry is estimated to generate around £6 billion for the UK economy.

“Today, as we open Great British Nuclear and the competition to develop cutting-edge small modular reactor technology, which could result in billions of pounds of public and private sector investment, we are seeing the first brush strokes of our nuclear power renaissance to power up Britain and grow our economy for decades to come,” said Shapps.

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Unlike conventional reactors which are built on site, SMRs are smaller, can be made in factories and could transform how power stations are built by making construction faster and less expensive.

It is anticipated that GBN will play a key role in helping the government hit its ambition to provide up to a quarter of the UK’s electricity from homegrown nuclear energy by 2050. In doing so it will look to achieve some of the cheapest wholesale electricity prices in Europe, while still supporting jobs across the country.

In addition to supporting the emerging technology, the government  has also stated that it remains committed to the mega projects of Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C and will work with GBN to consider the potential role of further large gigawatt-scale nuclear power plants in the UK energy mix.

On top of today’s GBN competition launch, the government is also announcing a grant funding package totalling up to £157 million.

This will include up to £77.1 million of funding for companies to accelerate advanced nuclear business development in the UK and support advanced nuclear designs to enter UK regulation, maximising the chance of small and advanced modular reactors being built during the next parliament.


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