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Government tries to breathe life into failing SMR programme

The key nuclear power players have been called in by the Government for crunch talks on plans to meet Britain’s energy demands with new small reactor technology, amid mounting fears over delays and Whitehall paralysis.

Industry giants including NuScale, Rolls-Royce, Hitachi and Westinghouse have been summoned by ministers in a bid to reignite interest in the project. They have been asked to present their plans in meetings over the next few weeks.

Small modular reactors (SMRs) are a fraction of the size and cost of major nuclear power stations such as EDF’s controversial Hinkley Point C project.

The Government signalled a key role for the technology in efforts to secure the energy supply and meet climate change targets two years ago.

An apparent lack of action since then has drawn criticism and raised industry concerns that the project has fallen by the wayside amid the political instability of Brexit and the general election.

In May, a House of Lords report branded the Government’s failure to publish the results of a competition for development funding as “particularly alarming”.

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