Peter Sibley, our sector lead for energy and director of nuclear consultancy, recently spoke to Construction News in a thought-provoking article they have published regarding the wider opportunities and challenges we face with the government’s plans to significantly upscale nuclear power.
The government aims for the UK to generate a total of 24GW of nuclear power (25% of our overall energy) by 2050. To achieve this, it’s hoped a new, large-scale nuclear power plant will be delivered every year by the end of this decade. In Construction News, Peter states that he believes SMRs (Small Modular Reactors) will ultimately be more beneficial to achieving these aspirations.
Peter comments that SMRs hold advantages:
“With smaller plants you have more flexibility on where you site them. And by not having massive construction sites and constructing this in modular form.”
He also comments how the waste heat and energy from SMRs could help grow the UK’s hydrogen production.
Just this week the government has approved plans for Sizewell C, a new nuclear power plant in Suffolk, predicted to produce 3.2GW of electricity. Peter points out that even accounting for its size it still barely scratches the surface of the 24GW target.
With the UK’s six current operational plants being due for decommission by 2023, Peter says, "We are kind of back to where we were in terms of power generation, so how do we go on?"
To read the full article, and more of Peter’s points, head over to the Construction News website.