The Prime Minister named “advancing nuclear power as a source of clean energy” as one of the 10 points of his “green industrial revolution” plan published in November 2020.
For years, the government has been interested in funding the next generation of nuclear technology, especially small modular reactors.
Mr Johnson’s government has been in talks with Rolls-Royce over taxpayer dollars that would help the company move towards such technology.
However, it is understood that there is frustration in parts of Downing Street that the company has not moved faster on the project.
Some £ 385million is already available from the government through the ‘Advanced Nuclear Fund’, with up to £ 215million to be spent on smaller scale power plant technology.
Discussions over nuclear energy have been complicated by the involvement of Chinese companies in the construction of power plants in the UK in the past. Over the past five years, the mood in parliament and government has become more critical of Beijing’s growing economic power and influence on the world stage.
Critics have questioned the involvement of Chinese state-owned China General Nuclear Power Group in the construction of Hinkley Point C, the Somerset power plant that was approved in 2016.