The UK Government intends to source 25% of its electricity from nuclear power plants by 2050 in a strategy to help the country reduce its dependence on Russian fossil fuels.
On 21 March, Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with nuclear industry leaders to discuss ways to improve the UK’s energy security and expedite the development of nuclear projects in the country.
Although the UK currently generates around 16% of its electricity from nuclear power plants, many facilities are scheduled for closure even as demand for electricity is expected to grow steadily in the next ten years.
The Guardian noted that this would necessitate large investments in new power stations to keep the share of nuclear power constant.
Representatives from various companies, including EDF Energy, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, Rolls Royce, NuScale, Nuclear Power Jacobs and Westinghouse Electric Company, attended the roundtable discussion.
At the meeting, Johnson outlined the government’s commitment to ‘supporting the industry to develop a thriving pipeline of future nuclear projects in the UK in a cost-effective way’.
Aspects of the benefits of scaling up investment and eliminating barriers facing nuclear power development were also discussed.
The meeting comes ahead of the publication of the government’s energy security strategy later this month. This strategy will involve increasing the UK’s use of renewable energy, nuclear power and domestic gas.
The UK’s nuclear capacity is expected to decrease to 3.6GW by 2024, with country’s current nuclear fleet having been in gradual decline over recent years.
The Hunterston B plant in Scotland is due to be retired this year, followed by Hinkley Point B in Somerset.
The Heysham I and Hartlepool I plants are also scheduled to close in 2024.
Last month, the UK Government announced £6.7m ($9m) of funding for 24 renewable energy projects across the country as part of the Longer Duration Energy Storage (LODES) competition.