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Boris Johnson goes for nuclear option in energy drive - Rachel Millard for the Telegraph

There’s nothing like a crisis for concentrating minds. None more so than in the area of energy security as the decision to build more nuclear power stations finally gets the go-ahead, according to Rachel Millard in today’s Telegraph.

After years of dithering and delay

Boris Johnson is reported to be “extremely gung-ho” about the technology, having been through an “evangelical conversion” in recent months.

The Prime Minister is now believed to want about a quarter of the UK’s power to come from nuclear power stations by 2050, compared to currently just under 20pc, and 25pc in the 1990s.

Achieving that target would go well beyond just replacing current stations, as a larger chunk of the UK’s overall energy is set to come from electricity. It could even imply the construction of at least half a dozen big new stations between 2030 and 2050, according to reports.”

One of the impediments to date has been the difficulty of raising private finance owing to the risk premium contingent on building nuclear reactors with potential cost-overruns and long-term returns on capital investment.

“Whether the Government can now help overcome those barriers remains to be seen. It is bringing in a new financing mechanism for nuclear power plants which will allow developers to recoup costs during the construction of the plant, rather than waiting until it has been built.”

Nonetheless, the case for nuclear remains very strong according to Guy Newey at Energy Systems Catapult who says that

“there's absolutely no reason” why financing and build costs can’t come down, but “you've got to be committed to it; you’ve got to push the industry hard to achieve those.”

Meanwhile, investors are showing an interest in the next generation of nuclear technology, designed to be cheaper. UK aero-engine giant Rolls-Royce has recently secured backing from Qatar, and France’s Perrodo family for the Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) it is developing with others. “

And on that note, we also include the Rolls Royce press announcement on the subject which we originally published in November last year as an addendum to the present article.

Both can be read here with links to the originals at the bottom of each:

Article by Rachel Millard for the Telegraph - Boris Johnson goes for nuclear option in ene
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Rolls-Royce gets funding to develop mini nuclear reactors - BBC 09.11.21 (2)
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