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| 1 minute read

Significant steps in UK nuclear energy

The energy transition is not going to rely on a silver magic bullet that solves all of the issues at once and so a mixture of technologies is required.  Nuclear is one such technology and there have been two pieces of positive news in the UK recently.

Firstly, the UK government has recently announced that it is awarding £196 million to Wirral-based Urenco to build a uranium enrichment facility.

The new high-assay low enriched uranium production facility located on the UK's best peninsula is set to support 400 highly-skilled jobs and is set to produce fuel by 2031.  With the UK intending to quadruple nuclear capacity by 2050, the flow of fuel from Urenco will serve to power the nation's fleet of future reactors.

Some of these reactors may be one of Rolls-Royce's SMRs, which have today been in the news with the announcement of a £15 million agreement with the University of Sheffield to build some of the first working prototypes of the SMR modules which are purported to allow the building of nuclear capacity at a much lower cost than existing methods.   It waits to be seen whether any savings will be seen by switching to a modular format.

Rolls Royce had shortlisted locations for the final factory to create the SMR modules, but this was recently scrapped due to delays on the part of the UK government.  With the North West retaining its significant skills in the nuclear sector with the Urenco processing facility, it seems that this strengthens the argument for Rolls Royce to choose Deeside in Wales, which is just across the border from the Urenco facility, to produce the SMR modules itself, if there ends up being a market for such modules.




high-assay low enriched uranium (HALEU) will power the UK’s future civil nuclear power stations, support 400 highly-skilled jobs and boost Cheshire


energy & environment, chemistry, sustainability, climate change, yes