A new £13 million grant to encourage British engineering and construction companies to bid for their share of the planned £60 billion investment in new nuclear power stations in the UK has been confirmed by the government.
Michael Fallon, MP, Energy Minister, made the announcement at the supply-chain conference organised by French state-owned nuclear power company, EDF, which has won planning approval to build Hinkley Point-C – the first new nuclear electricity generating plant to be built in the UK for 30 years.
Fallon said that up to £13 million will be made available jointly by the UK’s Innovation Agency, the Technology Strategy Board, the Department of Energy (DECC) and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to help UK-based businesses take advantage of the opportunities that arise from the UK’s new nuclear programme.
The initiative will focus on key technology areas such as construction, manufacturing, operation, maintenance and decommissioning & waste. This funding competition opens for bids on 17 March 2014.
Fallon said: “Hinkley represents the first of a whole fleet that will hopefully be deployed in the medium-term so it is essential to take a long-term perspective of the supply chain opportunities that new nuclear brings.
“Building safe and secure nuclear power stations that generate carbon-free electricity – and doing it to time and budget – while also enhancing the UK’s industrial and economic landscape, are crucial components underpinning the broad public support for new nuclear power in the UK.
“It is worth taking a moment to remind ourselves on why new nuclear is important. It is without doubt, a safe, proven low carbon technology that can contribute to the UK’s future energy security, helping to ensure a diverse mix of technology and fuel sources over the long term.
“And it will do this in a way that doesn’t pump harmful carbon emissions into the atmosphere. In addition to helping the UK meet its energy needs and its environmental commitments, new nuclear power stations will create outstanding opportunities for the UK economy both via investment and jobs at Hinkley Point C and the follow-on developments.”
The minister added that the 16GW of new-build capacity planned by industry could support an estimated 29,000-41,000 jobs across the nuclear supply chain at the peak of construction activity, with industry investment equating to around £60 billion.
- Michael Fallon (above) will be quizzed in parliament today by the House of Lords’ Science and Technology Committee on the UK government’s long-term nuclear strategy, when questions will likely include;
* What needs to be done to realise the nuclear strategy?
- How effectively are Government departments working together?
- How will the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) achieve the status of being an international leader?
- What are the current plans for dealing with nuclear waste?