The Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) is calling for the UK government to work with industry to ensure the industrial strategy has energy infrastructure front and centre, in its submission ahead of the UK Autumn budget statement, due on 23 November.
Following the confirmation that the first new nuclear power station in a generation will be built at Hinkley Point C, the NIA is highlighting the industrial, economic and export potential that can come from a focus on low carbon nuclear power to replace retiring power stations, reduce emissions and improve energy security.
The NIA believes combining business, energy and industrial strategy is a good start, but strategy policy now needs to focus on providing the framework for the UK’s industrial base to maximise the opportunities to drive jobs, growth and exports in low carbon energy infrastructure, including interest in small modular reactors.
Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive, Nuclear Industry Association, said: “There is a huge opportunity for the UK supply chain to help deliver vital new low carbon nuclear infrastructure with the right industrial strategy and policy framework. The Government’s interest in industrial strategy is welcome, and the new department bringing together industrial strategy with energy policy, is a positive step.
“Providing clarity that will build confidence is what the Government must ensure as the UK begins to adjust to working outside the EU. An industrial strategy that recognises both the importance of infrastructure that will support communities and businesses into the future, and the significant economic benefit that can come to the UK from associated jobs, growth and manufacturing output.
“The burgeoning international interest in the development of small modular reactors provides not only an additional option for managing the transition to a low carbon power supply, but could also be an important export opportunity for the UK, developing a supply chain, intellectual property and high quality, skilled jobs.
“As we move to reducing UK emissions further, the UK will need to look at how it can decarbonise heat and power, as well as electricity generation. Combined with a target to move away from fossil fuel production, new nuclear and modular reactors, combined with renewables as part of a lower carbon mix, will be a vital component of the UK’s reliable and secure electricity generation future.
“This means the Government’s strategy must not stop at Hinkley, but focus on the next line of new build developers, who will need to attract investment to build the new infrastructure we need, as well as providing clarity on the policy direction for an SMR programme.”
To do this, the NIA is calling for the roadmap for delivery on Small Modular Reactors (SMR), following the Phase 1 competition, to be released as soon as possible, so industry can capitalise on increasing international interest and for the UK to benefit from the supply chain and intellectual property developed here.