The Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) welcomes the chance to respond to the Public Affairs Committee’s Creation of the UK Infrastructure Bank inquiry.
The NIA is the trade association and representative body for the civil nuclear industry in the UK. We represent more than 200 companies operating across all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle. This includes the current and prospective operators of nuclear power stations, the international designers, and vendors of nuclear power stations, and those engaged in decommissioning, waste management and nuclear liabilities management.
Some of our members may choose to make their own detailed submissions so therefore this response is a high-level overview of the nuclear sector’s thoughts on this matter.
New nuclear power is essential to meeting the Government’s decarbonisation targets and increasing the UK’s energy security by providing firm, domestic, clean power. This was recently recognised in the British Energy Security Strategy through the increase of ambitions for new nuclear power in the UK. Now, the Government is aiming for 24GW of new nuclear by 2050, with eight new reactors in development by 2030.
Nuclear already plays a pivotal role as the backbone of clean power in the UK, providing a fifth of the UK’s overall power and almost half of the UK’s clean electricity alongside renewables, such as wind and solar.
Given that clean energy is one of the five focus areas of the UK Infrastructure Bank, we believe that the delivery of new nuclear power in the UK should be at the forefront of the Bank’s efforts, which already includes the exploration of how the Bank can support the Regulated Asset Base (RAB) model in attracting private finance into nuclear projects.
Earlier this year, previous Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for a new body – Great British Nuclear – to be established to help bring forward new projects that will be backed by significant amounts of funding, including £120m Future Nuclear Enabling Fund.
Recommendations for the set-up of GBN were submitted to Number 10 in September by a joint industry-Government team in the sponsoring department BEIS. Current Prime Minister Liz Truss has announced that GBN will be launched by UK Government by the end of this year.
The UK Infrastructure Bank should establish regular contact with BEIS and GBN on the advancement and deployment of new nuclear power in the UK and collaborate on how nuclear power can meet the Bank’s two strategic objectives: to tackle climate change, and support regional and local economic growth, new jobs and higher levels of productivity across the UK.