The UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has acknowledged the green potential of nuclear power by classifying it as environmentally sustainable. This will allow nuclear access to the same financial investment opportunities as other green energy sources, such as wind, and cement the UK's position as leaders in green energy.
The Chancellor also announced plans for Great British Nuclear with the aim of generating a quarter of UK electricity by 2050. With the ongoing electrification of the UK economy and a move towards electric vehicles, this is a very important step in securing the UK's energy supplies and providing highly-paid, skilled jobs in the UK. With the predicted large increase in electricity usage by 2050, nuclear, along with wind, will likely become the backbone of the UK's electricity grid.
Excitingly, the UK Government will also run a competition for Small Modular Reactors (SMR) to be completed by the end of the year. If viable, the UK Government will co-fund SMR technology. This is a huge opportunity for the UK as the technology developed here has the potential to be exported around the world, reducing the amount of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere and also supporting the UK economy.
The resurgence of nuclear power as a green energy source has the potential to put the UK at the forefront of nuclear technology and it will be interesting to see what new technologies emerge. With the hydrogen economy also predicted to grow strongly, it seems likely that co-location of SMRs and electrolysers will be used to generate both green energy and hydrogen. One suitable region for this is the Liverpool City Region, with its large industrial cluster already pursuing decarbonisation keenly, access to the sea for cooling, and skilled workforce.