Nuclear experts are urging the chancellor to press the button on the construction of next-generation British-built small nuclear power reactors as a solution to the standoff over the construction of major power stations like Hinkley Point. With George Osborne having already committed £250 million to fund the development of a design for small modular reactors, Sheffield University’s nuclear advanced manufacturing research centre says that British companies are ready for a programme to build dozens of local atomic power stations. It claims that a green light from the chancellor would remobilise the UK nuclear industry, open up lucrative export markets to Europe and the Middle East and create thousands of skilled manufacturing jobs that could regenerate areas such as Sheffield that have suffered from the loss of the steel and coal industries. The Department of Energy and Climate Change has been working on the feasibility of a new industry manufacturing small modular reactors and is due to report this spring. If Mr Osborne gives the go-ahead, nuclear manufacturers say that they could go into production early in the next decade.
Times 14th March 2016 read more »