Ministers should subsidise the construction of small nuclear power plants using a similar system to the support offered to offshore wind farms, according to a new report.

The document from the Expert Finance Working Group (EFWG), which was commissioned by the UK Government, said small modular reactors (SMRs) could be operating as early as 2030.

Proposed SMRs range in cost from £100 million to £2.3 billion, typically delivering less than 600MW.

The report said: “The UK Government should establish an advanced manufacturing supply chain initiative, as it did with offshore wind, to bring forward existing and new manufacturing capability in the UK and to challenge the market on the requirement for nuclear specific items, particularly Balance of Plant (BOP), thereby reducing the costs of nuclear and the perceived risks associated with it.”

Working together

Nuclear Energy Minister Richard Harrington said: “Today’s independent expert report recognises the opportunity presented by small nuclear reactors and shows the potential for how investors, industry and government can work together to make small nuclear reactors a reality.”

Lawrence Slade, Chief Executive of the Energy UK trade body, added: “This report sets out what needs to be done to support the development of small nuclear projects, which could form an important technology helping to provide clean power for UK homes and businesses.

“These recommendations should help de-risk infrastructure funding and help establish the small nuclear industry, which will deliver crucial investment for the UK economy and support the Industrial Strategy.”

> Download the report