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Spring Budget: government unveils purchase of nuclear sites

The federal government is shopping for two nuclear websites from Hitachi for £160m, reviving hopes for a brand new large-scale nuclear venture.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt introduced within the Spring Price range immediately (6 March) that the UK’s state-owned nuclear enterprise, Nice British Nuclear, agreed a deal to buy Hitachi’s Wylfa web site in Ynys Môn, Wales, and its Oldbury-on-Severn web site in South Gloucestershire, earlier this week.

The websites are being purchased as a part of the federal government’s plans to discover choices for a brand new nuclear scheme along with Hinkley Level C and Sizewell C.

Though no choices have but been made on tasks, Hunt stated the Wylfa web site will play a “important function” in delivering the federal government’s nuclear ambitions.

The Wylfa nuclear energy station generated electrical energy for greater than 40 years earlier than decommissioning began in 2015. Hitachi pulled its plans for a £20bn replacement nuclear power station on the positioning in 2021, citing a scarcity of presidency funding.

A Hitachi spokesperson stated: “I can affirm that Wylfa and Oldbury are within the strategy of being offered to Nice British Nuclear.

“They’re two of the premier places for nuclear within the UK and we’re happy that the websites will play an necessary function within the UK vitality transition for many years forward.”

Hunt additionally confirmed that the six corporations chosen to progress to the following stage of a authorities competitors to design small modular reactors have been invited to return tenders by June this yr.

The shortlisted corporations are: EDF; GE-Hitachi Nuclear Vitality Worldwide LLC; Holtec Britain Ltd; NuScale Energy; Rolls Royce SMR; and Westinghouse Electrical Firm UK Ltd.

Hunt stated: “We wish nuclear to supply as much as 1 / 4 of our electrical energy by 2050 and as a part of that I need the UK to guide the worldwide race in growing cutting-edge nuclear applied sciences.”

Bob Anstey, nuclear sector director at Costain, commented: “To satisfy the UK’s home vitality necessities over the approaching a long time, accelerating our potential to generate secure, low-carbon and sustainable electrical energy, is important.

“Small modular reactors will play an necessary function alongside bigger crops, and we’re positive that the civil nuclear trade shall be inspired by the indicators from the chancellor.

“On the similar time, there are urgent infrastructure and expertise shortfalls that have to be addressed to make sure these initiatives land on fertile floor.

“We all know from engaged on advanced civil nuclear tasks that collaboration is vital to delivering profitable and cost-efficient tasks, and will probably be much more essential if we wish to make the following technology of unpolluted, inexpensive vitality a actuality.”

The Division for Vitality Safety and Web Zero stated in January it will consider building another large nuclear power station if it might increase sufficient funds for a brand new energy station at Sizewell C.

The division additionally dedicated to quadrupling the UK’s nuclear energy technology to 24GW by 2050.