Britain gears up to be a world leader in producing low-carbon nuclear energy

Published: 06 Feb 2014

In the next 20 years, an estimated £930bn will be spent on building new nuclear reactors worldwide. The Brits are looking to take the lead in this venture by aiming to gain a major share of that business.

Britain was once home to the world’s first commercial nuclear power station at Calder Hall in 1956 and was leading the world in nuclear energy at the time. British engineers are trying to regain that momentum again and want to head the nuclear supply chain. The first step towards realising this goal is to set-up a home-grown nuclear supply industry that can support Britain’s nuclear ambitions. Setting up modern nuclear power stations will require skilled professionals as well as sophisticated equipment that are of extremely high standards. A significant investment is required from British companies to realise this goal.

Potentially, the businesses that partake in this venture will gain a substantial and sustainable portion of the nuclear supply chain. Under the Government’s nuclear industrial strategy, an estimated 30,000 jobs could be created from the UK’s new nuclear fleet alone. Specialised and skilled professionals will be required to fulfil roles in construction, installation, testing, servicing and decommissioning of new nuclear stations. The nuclear decommissioning industry itself is worth £250 billion.

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Banking on Britain’s past accomplishments, economists and industry experts are optimistic that they have a strong platform to build on. The label ‘Made in Britain’ still carries a lot of weight and narrates its own success story, which is embedded in 60-years of safe and successful British engineering history. For Britain, this could be the moment to shine as she takes the lead in producing clean, low-carbon energy that will solve many countries energy crisis. On the home front, UK manufacturing will benefit immensely from the generation of nuclear power.

Under the leadership of Britain’s Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, UK struck a deal to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley point in Somerset in October 2013. With the Hinkley project successfully under his belt, Mr Davey pre-empts that the construction phase would create 25,000 jobs and a further 900 people will be needed to operate the facility. Talks are now underway for a new reactor to be set up at Wyfla in North Wales. The employment generation from the Wyfla project is estimated to be 6,000 during its construction phase and another 1,000 people required to keep the facility running on a daily basis.

This could be the start of a new nuclear fleet in Britain; with these developments in place, not only will the Brits see a bright energy future but could also see the country leading up to be a pioneer in producing the world’s major share of nuclear energy.


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