The UK could build up to seven new nuclear power stations as part of plans to ramp-up domestic energy production following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, revealed business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Kwarteng argued”there is a world where we have six or seven sites in the UK” by 2050.
The government is aiming to boost supply security and energy independence through ramping up renewables, fossil fuel exploration. and nuclear power.
The newspaper has also revealed that ministers have agreed to set up a development vehicle – Great British Nuclear – to identify sites, speed up the planning process and bring together private firms to run each site.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is preparing to announce vast expansions to the UK’s nuclear energy sector, which only makes up 16 per cent of the country’s energy mix, a decline from its 25 per cent peak.
This follows a breakthrough in talks with Chancellor Rishi Sunak to secure funding for new plants – after Downing Street and the Treasury were at loggerheads in recent weeks over Johnson’s ‘big new bet’ on nuclear.
A meeting between Johnson and Sunak earlier this week reportedly ended in agreement on expanding the UK’s existing set of ageing nuclear plants, all but one of which are due to be decommissioned by 2030.
The government has also finally set a date for the energy security strategy, which will be unveiled on Thursday.
Johnson is pushing to more than treble the country’s existing seven gigawatts of nuclear capacity to 24 GW by 2050.
The strategy will involve construction of at least two new large-scale plants by 2030 in addition to small modular reactors.
A government source said: “Nuclear will definitely look larger in the British energy mix by the end of this decade.”