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In the midst of an energy crisis the government drags its heels on nuclear – again

John Constable

Yet more superfluous consultation on advanced modular reactors for industrial heat

Net Zero Watch today criticised the UK government’s latest announcement of a further round of ‘market engagement’ for Advanced Modular Reactors as an unnecessary duplication of work already in the public domain, introducing needless extra costs to the UK taxpayer, and which postpones still further a decision on this vitally important technology.

The UK government’s department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy yesterday announced a further round of ‘market engagement’ with the Advanced Modular Reactor sector before issuing a formal Invitation to Tender (ITT) in the spring of 2022: Advanced Modular Reactor (AMR) Research, Development and Demonstration Programme: market engagement.

It is hard to see why this is necessary, since very similar work has already been conducted by a €4.4m project that ran from 2017 to 2021 under the EU Gemini scheme (This project involved two British organisations, Jacobs and the University of Sheffield, both of which received funding from the European Union.)

Advanced Modular Reactors (AMRs), producing high grade heat for industrial purposes, are an extremely promising means of diversifying the UK’s fuel mix and reducing the current extreme exposure to natural gas, an exposure which is already causing some industries to raise the possibility of temporary closure.

Dr John Constable, Director of Energy at Net Zero Watch said:

The British government needs to move as rapidly as possible on nuclear energy for industrial heat, but seems content with the pace of an over-cautious snail, duplicating research and wasting scarce funding. In the midst of an energy crisis that could go on for years this is unforgivable. Mr Kwarteng needs to light a fire under his department.’