As part of a project to encourage investment in the UK’s nuclear power sector, energy and climate minister Graham Stuart has announced $89.4 million in funding for a Nuclear Fuel Fund.
The funding will be used to boost the UK’s energy security and encourage the development of alternatives to the Russian fuel supply, according to the statement, which was made public on January 2. It will also support the government’s goal of securing up to 24 gigawatts of nuclear power by 2050 by encouraging investment in UK-based new and robust fuel manufacturing capabilities.
A coordinated effort to reduce dependence on Russian civil nuclear and associated items, including efforts to diversify uranium sources and nuclear fuel manufacturing capabilities, was launched in June by G7 leaders. According to the UK Government, Russia currently controls approximately 20% of the global capacity for uranium conversion and 40% of the global capacity for enrichment.
Up to $15.5 million of the investment has already been allocated to Preston, which is strategically significant for producing fuel for the current advanced gas-cooled reactor fleet in the UK. The goal of the funding is to establish primary conversion capabilities for both newly mined and reprocessed uranium.
The money will make it possible to make a lot of investments at the Springfields facility in Lancashire, which will keep hundreds of high-skilled jobs in the area.
The money will be used to build specialized nuclear fuel capabilities in the UK that can turn reprocessed uranium into fuel, which is currently unavailable outside of Russia. In addition to improving the UK’s energy security, ministers anticipate that it will also establish the UK as a significant international provider of nuclear fuel and fuel cycle services and provide export opportunities for the sector.
With the remaining funds, the government wants to create a diverse and robust market for nuclear fuel and is taking investment proposals. It will aid efforts to develop new domestic fuel capabilities, such as fuel supply options for light water reactors, including potential small modular reactors that could meet a significant portion of our current nuclear energy requirements.
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