PM plans to triple nuclear power generation by 2050

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set out far-reaching proposals for the future of UK energy supply, including tripling nuclear power generation over the next three decades and speeding up the fleet planning system offshore wind farms.

Britain’s energy security strategy also targets new oil and gas projects in the North Sea, partly because of global uncertainty over supplies following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the international backlash it has caused. provoked.

Regarding the next generation of nuclear power, the strategy proposes the delivery of eight new reactors across the country, increasing the deployment to a potential of 24 GW by 2050, which according to the Department of Energy Affairs, and industrial strategy, was three times more than at present.

The strategy’s nuclear ambitions include the creation of a new body – dubbed the Great British Nuclear Vehicle – to help projects through every stage of the development process and create a “resilient pipeline” of new build. Another element is collaboration with other nations on advanced nuclear technologies, including small modular reactors and advanced modular reactors.

Johnson’s strategy also repeats plans to step up efforts to shift British households away from gas heating, through better insulation and the use of heat pump technology. Elsewhere, it proposes doubling hydrogen production for use as a clean “super fuel” by 2030.

the strategy is committed to making the UK “the Saudi Arabia” of wind energy. And proposes investing in additional fixed and floating offshore wind farms as well as developing local partnerships in England through which a “limited number of support communities” can host new onshore wind farms in exchange for reduced energy bills and other advantages. He adds that “smarter planning” of offshore wind projects will accelerate the pace of deployment by 25%.

Controversially, the strategy says the government will be “open-minded” about the future exploitation of onshore shale gas reserves, despite the current pause on fracking. It says an unbiased technical review on shale gas has been commissioned from the British Geological Society which will review scientific updates on seismicity for ministers to review.

In his foreword to the newspaper, Johnson said that for most of the industrial age the UK had been “energy independent” and that the strategy would be a step forward to ensure that the country had clean, safe and affordable electricity for generations to come.

“We need a power supply made in Britain, for Britain – and that’s what this is all about,” he said.

“And as even the most evangelical environmentalist would concede that we can’t just unplug all fossil fuels overnight without the lights going out across Europe, we’re going to make better use of oil and gas. gas in our own backyard by breathing new life into the energy fields of the North Sea.

Sue Ferns, principal deputy general secretary of the Prospect union – which represents professionals in public service and industry – said the government’s commitment to new nuclear was ‘essential for net zero’. But she warned the strategy lacked detail.

“This energy strategy is ambitious and if accompanied by a concrete action plan and government funding, it will go a long way towards delivering the long-term energy security that the UK needs,” he said. she declared. “However, we have not yet seen this concrete plan and it should not be let slip.

“Direct investment in new nuclear will be extremely welcome – we now need direct government support for Sizewell C, Wylfa [nuclear power stations] and any other project that can be started. We’ve been talking about it for too long and we need to fully commit with the money and the legislation to support it.

Ferns said increased investment in renewables was also welcome, but said the government needed to ensure a greater proportion of infrastructure was carried out in the UK to maintain high quality jobs . She said the same is true for the nuclear supply chain.

Darren Jones, who chairs the House Committee on Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, described the strategy as a “missed opportunity”.

“For families and businesses across the country, energy security means being able to turn on the heat or power knowing you can afford to pay the bill,” he said.

“Ministers continue to ignore the reality facing millions of people with another missed opportunity to help bill payers and a failure to announce funding for home insulation work needed to reduce the amount of heating needed first.

“Replacing gas power with more nuclear power is less carbon-intensive, but nuclear isn’t renewable and it isn’t cheap. It is disappointing that the government has failed to fully seize the opportunity of onshore wind and solar once again with no explanation other than disagreements within the Conservative Party.

He added, “This energy security strategy is the fifth energy policy announcement in a long series of energy policy announcements. We need the government to start delivering. Ministers must urgently explain how they plan to accelerate the delivery of their promises instead of just launching yet another policy.


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