UK Industrial Strategy highlights the importance of nuclear power

In the Industrial Strategy White Paper announced by the Government, the nuclear industry is highlighted as “integral to increasing productivity and driving growth within the UK”.

The white paper announced this week emphasizes a long-term vision on how UK can utilize its economic strengths, address its productivity performance and ensure it is utilizing technology to improve the earning potential of people across the UK.

Nuclear energy has been indicated as essential within this vision and as a vital part of the future energy mix for the UK. The Government is very keen to develop and invest in low carbon energy generation siting nuclear industry as a definitive source of carbon-free energy generation. 

The White Paper reiterates that safe and effective decommissioning is essential and indicates that the UK can provide the expertise required to deliver these nuclear projects. The Nuclear Industry Council along with the Government are exploring a range of proposals to increase the competitiveness and enhance the value of the nuclear industry within the UK. After being re-established earlier this year, the Nuclear Industry Council is to provide strategic leadership to the nuclear sector. 

The new strategy focuses on working closely with the Government in an aim to reduce the costs associated with new build and nuclear-decommissioning programs.  The collaboration between the NIC and Government intend to expand the workforce required to support a potential growth of nuclear jobs in excess of 100,000.

Lord (John) Hutton, The chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association believes the strategy emphasizes how reliable, secure and low-carbon nuclear energy is an essential part of the current and future energy mix in the UK.  Hutton believes the economic benefits the nuclear industry can bring to UK employment cannot be overlooked.

Hutton explains how our existing power stations have generated energy, long-term employment and avoided high levels of CO2 emissions. With strategic plans to replace power stations, the UK can establish supply chains and new long-term employment opportunities.

Within the industrial strategy, the Government selects four specific trends that will transform the UK. One of these trends is ‘clean growth’ which is described in detail within the ‘Clean Growth Strategy’ delivered in October by the Government. The strategy indicates the important role UK played in securing the Paris Agreement and expanding the targets to maintain global temperature rise below two degrees.

Within this strategy, the nuclear industry is highlighted as key to the productivity of a low carbon economy. The strategy includes a focus on new nuclear capacity and the requirement to secure competitive prices for further investment and maintaining safety. 

The Government has recently requested the development of a new nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board to provide specific expertise and support towards the development of the Nuclear Innovation Program. The Government also plans to invest over £7 million to expand the capacity and further development of modern technologies.

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