Next-gen nuclear tech gets £170m boost to accelerate net zero progress

The government investment looks to have nuclear technology up and running within the next decade, in a bid to decarbonise heavy industry

Big Zero Report 2023

The UK government’s plan to have next-gen nuclear technology operational within the next decade in order to reach net zero energy emissions has had a £170 million boost.

Ministers have agreed to invest the money into high temperature gas reactors (HTGRs), as the route to building the first advanced modular reactor (AMR) demonstrator.

AMRs are conventionally smaller and more flexible than regular nuclear power stations and the ministers have stated HTGRs will not only be able to provide electricity to the grid but also generate low carbon hydrogen, helping to decarbonise industry and power district heating networks within 20 years.

HTGRs generate heat at much higher temperatures than other types of AMR, with government claiming this would significantly slash emissions from the production of cement, paper and glass and chemicals.

Heat currently accounts for 37% of the UK’s carbon emissions, with a majority of that generated by heavy industry. The government hopes nuclear advancements can help cut down these emissions over the coming decades.

Anne Marie Trevelyan, Minister of State for Energy, commented: “While renewables like wind and solar will become an integral part of where our electricity will come from by 2050, they will always require a stable low carbon baseload from nuclear.

“That is why, alongside negotiations with the developers of Sizewell C in Suffolk, we are pressing ahead with harnessing new and exciting advanced nuclear technology.

“AMRs are the next level of modern nuclear technology and have the potential to play a crucial role not only in tackling carbon emissions but also in powering industry and driving forward Britain’s economic growth, as we build back greener.”

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