Nuclear Policy Update

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero written statement – made am ar 22 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Claire Coutinho Claire Coutinho The Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero

In January this Government published the Civil Nuclear Roadmap which represented the biggest expansion of nuclear power for 70 years. It set out our ambition for 25% of our power to come from nuclear by 2050.

Since then, the Government has been powering on to deliver the Roadmap commitments. We have launched the next phase of the Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Technology Selection Process, with bidders having until June to submit tenders; announced support to a multi-year programme of work to boost nuclear skills in the UK; and announced £196m of support for a high-tech nuclear fuel facility in the North West. We intend to take a final investment decision on Sizewell C (SZC) before the end of this Parliament.

I am proud that this Government is delivering on its commitments and this statement outlines progress on another of our key commitments: to explore a further large-scale nuclear project.

At the Spring Budget, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor also announced that Great British Nuclear (GBN) had reached agreement with Hitachi to acquire the Wylfa (Anglesey / Ynys Mon) and Oldbury-on-Severn (Gloucestershire) nuclear sites.

Today my Department has published a Prior Information Notice (PIN), exploring building a further large-scale nuclear power station, similar in scale to Hinkley in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk. As part of the PIN the Government has indicated its initial preference is that any such nuclear project should be located at Wylfa. Sitting on the North Wales coast, Wylfa is ideally suited to host a large-scale nuclear project give its proximity to water and nuclear heritage. This announcement has the potential to bring thousands of jobs and investment to the area, boosting the local economy.

This PIN invites interest from all potential large-scale vendors to engage with the Department as it carries out market engagement and build an understanding of the capacity of the sector to support large-scale project ambitions. The Department will use the information gathered to inform future policy on large-scale nuclear development in the UK. This is an important step in signalling the Government’s intent, and while it is not compulsory for potential vendors to express an interest at this stage, we would encourage all with an interest to do so.

Importantly, I am clear that this announcement does not in any way seek to predetermine outcomes of the ongoing SMR Technology Selection Process, and that indicating the initial preferred use of Wylfa should not preclude access to sufficient site capacity for future SMR requirements.

I am depositing a copy of the PIN in the Libraries of the House.