New Sector Deal to Secure UK Civil Nuclear Future

  • New £200 million Nuclear Sector Deal to secure the UK’s diverse energy mix and drive down the costs of nuclear energy meaning cheaper energy bills for customers
  • Includes £32 million boost from Government and industry to kick-start new advanced manufacturing programme including R&D investment to develop potential world-leading nuclear technologies like Advanced Modular Reactors
  • A commitment to increasing gender diversity in the civil nuclear workforce with a target of 40% women in nuclear by 2030

NSAN welcomes the ambitious deal announced today by the Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark.  The deal will help to ensure that nuclear energy continues to power the UK for years to come through major innovation, cutting-edge technology and ensuring a diverse and highly-skilled workforce.

The Deal, worth over £200 million, will spearhead Britain’s move towards cleaner economic growth, while promoting new opportunities in the sector including a focus on innovation to develop the technology and skills needed to maintain the UK’s position as one of the world’s leading nuclear countries.

It includes a strong commitment to increasing the diversity of the workforce so that more women can take advantage of new dedicated nuclear colleges and national schemes. Currently, the UK’s nuclear industry faces a lack of gender diversity, with only 22% of the nuclear workforce being female- and of this- only 15% being female nuclear engineers. This Deal will deliver up to 100,000 jobs overall in nuclear by 2021 and a significantly more diverse workforce with a target of 40% women in nuclear by 2030.

Jo Tipa, Managing Director of NSAN commented:

"NSAN is looking forward to working with industry in supporting the implementation of the sector deal and ensuring that the sector has a skilled and diverse workforce to take the nuclear programme forwards."

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said:

“The UK is the home of civil nuclear technology and with this investment in innovation and our commitment to increasing diversity in an already highly-skilled workforce, I want to ensure we remain the world leader.

“Nuclear energy not only fuels our power supply, it fuels local jobs, wages, economic prosperity and drives UK innovation. This Sector Deal marks an important moment for the Government and industry to work collectively to deliver the modern Industrial Strategy, drive clean growth and ensure civil nuclear remains an important part of the UK’s energy future.”

Co-chair of the Nuclear Industry Council Lord Hutton said:

“The industry wants nuclear energy to remain competitive against other forms of low-carbon energy - which is why we are committed to working with Government to reduce costs across the sector. Today’s funding boost will support this common goal; increasing the UK’s industrial capabilities as well as signalling our global leadership in nuclear to the rest of the world.”

The Sector Deal will also see:

  • The unlocking of growth opportunities in the nuclear supply chain through joint Government and industry support for smaller companies in the UK to access higher value contracts and new markets
  • The strengthening of pioneering research with the potential for global impact- with a national fusion technology platform at the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s Science Centre in Culham in Oxfordshire supported by government funding of £86 million
  • Up to £44 million for research and development funding to support the development of Advanced Modular reactors
  • A dynamic new partnership with Welsh Government to develop a £40 million thermal hydraulics facility in North Wales as part of the Nuclear Innovation Programme- to support the design and development of advanced nuclear technologies
  • A firm commitment from industry to reduce the cost of new nuclear build projects by 30% by 2030, and the cost of decommissioning old nuclear sites by 20% by 2030
  • A new review to look at ways to accelerate the clean-up of nuclear ‘legacy’ sites (where there was previous nuclear activity) –doing this safely whilst providing value for money to the taxpayer
  • A significant reduction in the high costs associated with the sector through investment in new world-class technology- meaning nuclear energy can be produced in a more cost-effective way- and cheaper bills and peace of mind for energy consumers 
  • The emerging findings of the Expert Finance Working Group’s analysis of small modular reactors. The independent group’s analysis suggest that the UK is well placed to develop First of A Kind small reactor projects, and that the characteristics of SMRs could attract private investment.

The UK will also be driving forward cutting-edge small and advanced modular reactors as part of this Deal. Smaller reactors using trusted light-water technology coupled with advanced modular manufacturing offer the potential for lower-cost nuclear power stations complementing the industry’s existing plans for larger scale new nuclear power stations.

Business and Industry Minister Richard Harrington said:

“Innovation will be crucial to the success or our nuclear industry. We want the UK to build on its strength in advanced manufacturing techniques to help position the UK at the forefront of the nuclear technologies of the future.”

Next generation advanced modular reactors present opportunities to harness nuclear energy for use in new contexts and new markets compared to traditional nuclear reactors.

UK industries are exceptionally placed to dominate this advanced nuclear market using our expertise in innovative design and advanced modular manufacturing. Today’s Deal gives both established businesses and start-ups the green light of Government backing to drive this development forward. 

Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales, said:

“It is particularly apt that we are launching the UK Government’s nuclear strategy at Trawsfynydd. This site reflects both the past of our nuclear industry and an exciting future as the potential site for the new generation of small reactors, placing Wales at the centre of a UK arc of the nuclear industry. 

“Trawsfynydd is ready to be transformed with little upgrade needed to the grid infrastructure. It’s in the right place with the right people and good links to leading academic research institutions in the nuclear sector. The kind of small reactor which could be sited in Trawsfynydd is set to usher in an era of cost-effective power with equipment put together off site and transported to locations like this for relatively easy assembly.

“I believe the UK Government strategy announced today represents a road map which will drive innovation in the nuclear industry, create jobs and provide a significant boost to the local economy here in North Wales.”