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Nuclear power expert Graham Alty at Out-law law firm Pinsent Masons said the consortium and government’s SMR investment would be a positive step forward.

“The huge investment in the UK SMR program will be good news for an industry that has made a lot of money on roller coasters over the past few years. It was about 10 years ago that a new dawn of low carbon power from a new generation of reactors was foreshadowed,” Alty said.

With a focus on nuclear power in the 2010s, in 2016 energy companies EDF and CGN won government approval for the construction of a new 3.2 gigawatt electric nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

“Since then, the direction has changed. Many key investors have withdrawn, government policy has become less clear and the comparative cost of producing electricity from renewable energy sources has decreased,” said Alty.

“UK nuclear power is at the crossroads. If it’s economical, it should be part of the low-carbon power future. Like all technology, it requires investment. However, clear government policy support is needed in the next energy white paper, and additional support through equity participation will be needed.”

If it’s economical, according to Alty, investments in nuclear power should be made along with investments in renewable energy sources.

“Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently clarified government support for renewable energy sources, especially low-carbon power from wind power. It’s fantastic, but analysts suggest that this can’t give us all the low-carbon power we need. Economic power and the heat of nuclear energy can also support our move towards net zero,” said Alty.

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