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Government announces funding for modular nuclear reactors and fusion power

Joseph Flaig

(Credit: iStock)
(Credit: iStock)

The government vowed to make the UK a “world leader” in nuclear technology today as it announced funding for modular reactors and fusion research.

Business secretary Greg Clark announced £86m funding for a “national fusion technology platform” at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in Oxfordshire. The government is also making additional funding available for research and development into small modular reactors, to assess their feasibility and accelerate their development over the next three years.

The Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) will also lead two new projects on contrasting approaches to producing nuclear components. Backed by government funding of almost £2.5m, the Inform project aims to improve the process of moving large parts between multiple machines, while the Simple project hopes to do more operations on a single platform.

These schemes have “the potential to provide a significant boost to the UK nuclear industry,” particularly in the development of new modular reactors, said AMRC research manager Dave Stoddart to Professional Engineering. “The techniques we will develop will allow a significant reduction in production time and increase delivery certainty for a range of major nuclear components, helping to reduce the risk of delays and over-runs in nuclear new build.”

The nuclear sector has “a key role to play” in increasing national productivity and driving economic growth while cutting emissions, said energy minister Richard Harrington. “Nuclear is a vital part of our energy mix, providing low-carbon power now and into the future, so today’s package of new measures will help to boost innovation and provide greater clarity on our future plans.”

Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily reflect the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

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