As part of the Industrial Strategy, the Government committed to making the most of the UK’s strengths, so we can develop the technologies that will transform existing industries and create better, higher-paying jobs in every part of the United Kingdom. The nuclear sector is an undoubted strength of our economy and one of the most advanced in the world, from research, fuel production, generation through to decommissioning, waste management, transport and our world class regulatory system – it is an industry which offers huge opportunity for the future.
Sector Deals, where industries are invited to come forward with plans for their future, embody the ethos of our collaborative approach. They show how industry and the Government, working together, can boost the productivity and earning power of specific sectors. We have already struck ambitious deals with the artificial intelligence, life sciences, automotive and creative industries sectors and we look forward to building on this in the months ahead.
The Government has worked closely with the sector champion Lord Hutton and industry leads from the Nuclear Industry Council to develop a number of proposals by 2030, which include:
The Deal contains mutual commitments to drive greater productivity, innovation and exports by: adopting innovative advanced manufacturing and construction techniques in new nuclear projects; supporting advanced nuclear technologies including small modular reactors (SMRs) and a range of research and development activities; a joint review of the decommissioning pipeline to achieve greater value for the taxpayer and to boost exports; a supply chain competitiveness programme to support UK business to build capabilities to win work domestically and internationally; and a range of proposals to support a future workforce including a new apprenticeship standard and a commitment to a more diverse workforce, including a target of women making up 40% of the nuclear sector by 2030.
The UK has consistently been a world leader in nuclear technology and has been at the forefront of many new developments in the industry. This Deal will continue that tradition through the establishment of a new framework to support the development and deployment of SMRs and the innovative technologies that support them. This support is designed to challenge the industry to bring forward technically and commercially viable propositions that would lead to the deployment of new reactors that would be investable and cost competitive in the energy system. This builds on the package announced in December 2017 of up to £44m for R&D funding (up to £4m in phase 1 and, subject to Government approval, up to £40m for phase 2) for ‘advanced’ modular reactors. I am pleased to announce the following companies have made credible propositions from a range of UK and international concepts and will receive grant funding to undertake detailed studies:
The Government remains committed to fusion alongside fission and announced £86m, in December 2017, to create a new National Fusion Technology Platform at Culham in Oxfordshire. The Government is also working in partnership with the Welsh Government to develop a £40m thermal hydraulics facility in North Wales as part of the Nuclear Innovation Programme.
I have deposited a copy of the Nuclear Sector Deal in the Libraries of the House.