Our paper explores the actions only government can take to ensure nuclear energy fulfils its potential in supporting net zero and enhancing energy security.
It is clear that the UK government sees a significant role for nuclear energy both in meeting the UK’s legally binding commitment to net zero, and in enhancing energy security.
It is also clear that new nuclear development in the UK will not be a state enterprise; instead, the state must create an environment in which the private sector is willing to make huge capital investments.
Over the course of the three ‘waves’ of nuclear energy, envisaged in the 2019 Energy White Paper, the government has a huge enabling role; with different enabling activities required for each wave. The Third Wave, which considers Advanced Modular Reactor (AMR) technologies – of which High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor (HTGR) is preferred – is especially complex due to the immaturity of the technologies and the commercial, regulatory and political challenges facing developers.
Our paper explores the actions that only government can take, which will smooth a path to a UK demonstration of HTGR technology by the early 2030s, and without which there is little prospect of progress.