The UK government is committing to the future of nuclear power by investing GBP77m ($95m) to support nuclear fuel production and next generation advanced nuclear reactors in the UK. A further GBP25m was announced for innovative new technologies that will generate clean hydrogen from biomass and waste.

The government said it is committing to new and innovative nuclear energy with the announcement of funding worth up to GBP60 million to kick start the next phase of research into “the new cutting-edge High Temperature Gas Reactor (HTGR), a type of Advanced Modular Reactor (AMR), which could be up and running by the early 2030s”. The funding, from the Advanced Modular Reactor R&D programme, aims to get a demonstration project of the engineering design up and running by the end of the decade.

The funding for HTGR innovation is supported with a further GBP4m funding for the AMR Knowledge Capture Project, as a complementary project to the AMR Research, Development and Demonstration programme. The project seeks to facilitate knowledge capture and sharing to reduce the time, risk, and cost of the programme delivery. In addition, GBP13 million was announced for Westinghouse in Preston, to produce fuel for the current UK advanced gas cooled reactor fleet.

Also published on 13 December was the ‘UK Hydrogen Strategy update to the market: December 2022’, summarising the government’s action to advance the hydrogen economy since the last update this summer. Activity undertaken by government in the last few months includes:

  • Funding nine projects through the £26 million Industrial Hydrogen Accelerator competition
  • Launching the first Electrolytic Hydrogen Allocation Round, which offers joint support through the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund and Hydrogen Production Business Model
  • Announcing the shortlisted CCUS-enabled hydrogen projects in the Cluster Sequencing Process
  • Publishing a consultation on hydrogen transport and storage infrastructure.

The UK said these documents strengthen the policy and regulatory landscape for the UK’s hydrogen sector, to provide further certainty for investors and industry alike.

Energy and Climate Minister Graham Stuart said: “This funding package will strengthen our energy security, by ensuring we have a safe and secure supply of domestic nuclear fuel services – while also creating more UK jobs and export opportunities.” He added that hydrogen was set to become a super-fuel of the future. “Accelerating the use of hydrogen will be key to the UK’s greener energy future, alongside the government’s work to deploy renewables and nuclear to strengthen the UK’s energy security.”

Image: The UK Government's Energy & Climate Minister, Graham Stuart