The biggest expansion of nuclear power for 70 years to create jobs, reduce bills and strengthen Britain’s energy security.
Rishi Sunak has described nuclear energy as the “perfect antidote” to Britain’s energy challenges while launching a plan to support 80,000 jobs in the sector.
The Government will ramp up the clean power by up to four times to 24 gigawatts (GW) by 2050 – enough to provide a quarter of the UK’s electricity needs.
The civil and defence nuclear workforce will need to double over the next 20 years – supporting around 80,000 additional skilled jobs across the UK.
Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho and Mr Sunak insisted a revival of the sector will also reduce electricity bills and improve UK energy security.
The Prime Minister said: “Nuclear is the perfect antidote to the energy challenges facing Britain – it’s green, cheaper in the long term and will ensure the UK’s energy security for the long-term.
“This is the right long-term decision and is the next step in our commitment to nuclear power, which puts us on course to achieve net zero by 2050 in a measured and sustainable way.
“This will ensure our future energy security and create the jobs and skills we need to level up the country and grow our economy.”
The £300 million plan is the biggest expansion of nuclear power for 70 years, Ms Coutinho said.
It includes exploring a GW-scale power plant as big as Sizewell in Suffolk or Hinkley in Somerset, which are capable of powering six million homes each.
Ms Coutinho said: “Strengthening our energy security means that Britain will never again be held to ransom over energy by tyrants like Vladimir Putin. British nuclear, as one of the most reliable, low-carbon sources of energy around, will provide that security.
“We’re making the biggest investment in domestic nuclear energy in 70 years. Our £300 million plan to produce advanced nuclear fuel in the UK will supply nuclear plants at home and overseas – further weakening the Kremlin’s grip on global energy markets.
“From large gigawatt projects to small modular reactors, the UK’s wider nuclear revival will quadruple our nuclear capacity by 2050 – helping to power Britain from Britain.”
Around 35 per cent of all natural gas provided to the European continent came from Russia but only three per cent of the total UK gas supply came from the Russian Federation, in the form of liquefied natural gas.
The UK’s gas prices could have been a lot higher if it had relied more on gas from Russia.
Campaigners have welcomed the Government’s plans to invest millions of pounds into renewable energy but warned of the impacts of delays.
Jess Ralston, analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, said: “The challenge is the industry has a track record of running over budget and behind schedule, so this does little to boost the UK’s energy security any time soon.
“More offshore wind and insulating homes would help cut the UK’s ties with volatile gas prices, but the Government fumbled the last offshore wind auction and has driven down the number of homes it’s helping to insulate in the past couple of years.”
By Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho
Politicians often talk about a new era for nuclear.Ever since Winston Churchill predicted nuclear energy would change the world almost a century ago, we’ve heard time and time again that this new era is on the horizon.But concerns over cost and safety kept getting in the way.Over the last 70 years, we’ve gone from being the first country in the world to build a commercial nuclear power plant, to gradually slipping behind.When Tony Blair promised a new generation of nuclear power plants, not a single one materialised – until David Cameron took over and we started building Hinkley Point C.If that was the first step in the great British nuclear revival, then today, the journey is well underway.We have a government which understands the importance of powering Britain from Britain – so that Britain will never again be held to ransom over energy by tyrants like Vladimir Putin..British nuclear, as one of the most reliable, low-carbon sources of energy around, can provide that security.That is why we are making the largest investment in domestic nuclear energy for 70 years – quadrupling nuclear capacity to produce up to a quarter of our electricity by 2050. We have today published our nuclear roadmap, setting a clear path for growth.At the heart of it is a £300 million plan to produce our own specialist uranium, alongside our ambition to return uranium conversion to Springfields in the North West.Right now, Russia is the only commercial producer of this crucial fuel.By making it ourselves, we can supply nuclear plants at home and overseas, further weakening the Kremlin’s grip on global energy markets.At the same time, we’re supporting the growth of large-scale plants in the UK.Hinkley Point C in Somerset and Sizewell C in Suffolk will provide enough secure, low-carbon electricity to power up to twelve million homes.We’re also exploring the possibility of a third major power station, which would increase that capacity by 50%.And unlike Labour, you can be sure that when we say it, we mean it… because every single nuclear power station in this country started life under a Conservative government.We’re also on track to be the first nation in Europe to deploy smaller, next-generation reactors which can be rolled out of factories and set up where they’re needed – saving both time and money.And let’s not forget, the UK is uniquely placed to succeed. Few other nations boast the facilities, expertise, and workforce that we do.Our ambitious nuclear programme will help us harness those strengths.It will keep us safe from volatile energy markets.It will cut energy bills for hardworking families.It will support 80,000 jobs and turbocharge our economy.And more than all that, it will ensure we reclaim our status as a nuclear pioneer.Proving that this time, at long last, the nuclear revival is so much more than a slogan