UK Eyes Nuclear Power Growth, Launches $90 Million Nuclear Fuel Fund

The UK government has announced US$90 million (£75 million) of funding for the development of domestic nuclear fuel production, in a bid to reduce reliance on Russia and strengthen the country’s energy security. 

The investment, which will come from the Nuclear Fuel Fund, aims to encourage the development and commercialization of nuclear fuel production technologies in the UK, including the creation of conversion capacity for freshly mined and reprocessed uranium. 

This will help power existing and future advanced nuclear reactors and support the international diversification of fuel supply away from Russia.

Russia currently owns around 20% of global uranium conversion capacity and 40% of enrichment capacity, making it a major player in the global nuclear fuel market. G7 leaders agreed in June to take concerted action to reduce reliance on Russian nuclear and related goods, including working to diversify their supplies of uranium and nuclear fuel production capability.

The funding package will also support the creation of new fuel supply options for light water reactors, including small modular reactors, and the production of new fuel types for advanced modular reactors, which are expected to be in operation from the 2030s. 

“This investment package will strengthen the UK’s energy security, by ensuring access to a safe and secure supply of UK-produced fuel to power the UK nuclear fleet of today and tomorrow — squeezing out Russian influence, while creating more UK jobs and export opportunities,” the Minister of State for Energy and Climate Graham Stuart said in a news release.

The fund’s eligibility requirements stipulate that the majority or over 50% of the work funded must be carried out in the country and that the project must support “UK civil nuclear capability in one or more stages of the frontend of the fuel cycle.” 

Source: World Nuclear Association

It is expected to stimulate a diverse and resilient nuclear fuel market, supporting specialist skills and creating new job opportunities across the country, as well as opening up export opportunities. The fund will be open for applications until February 20, 2023. 

The announcement comes just over a month after the government confirmed the first state backing of a nuclear project in over 30 years, with a historic $835 million (£700 million) stake in Sizewell C nuclear power plant. 

According to data from the World Nuclear Association, the UK currently generates 15% of its electricity from about 6.5 GW of nuclear capacity. The government aims to boost that to 24 GW of nuclear power or 25% of electricity by 2050, as part of its efforts to transition to a low carbon economy and reach net zero emissions by the same date.

Information for this story was found via the UK Government, the World Nuclear Association, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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