The Government has announced what it described as "significant support" to help exploit the potential for the UK to become a world-leader in developing the next generation of nuclear technologies.

Funding is being made available over the next three years to help support research and development into innovative advanced and small modular reactors as well as assess their feasibility and accelerate the development of promising designs.

The Government will also be supporting early access to regulators to build the capability and capacity needed to assess and licence small reactor designs and will establish an expert finance group to advise how small reactor projects could raise private investment in the UK.

It also plans to shortly launch the second phase of its Nuclear Innovation Programme, including up to £8 million for work on modern safety and security methodologies and studies in advanced fuels.

Industry driving innovation

Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

“New industry figures show that the UK’s civil nuclear sector contributed £6.4 billion to the UK economy last year. These announcements recognise the importance of industry driving innovation, supported by government, so the sector continues to compete at the very highest level, not just in the UK but globally.

“Helping to put the UK at the forefront of future technologies which have the potential to create value and jobs across the whole UK are core objectives of our Industrial Strategy.”

However, Caroline Lucas, the co-leader of the Green Party, said the announcement showed the Government's energy policy “is a mess”.

“Ministers are ploughing huge sums of money into supporting overpriced nuclear, while retaining a defacto ban on onshore wind and failing to give solar the support the sector needs.

They're sending mixed messages to investors when we desperately need clarity to show that the Government is serious about creating a renewables-based low carbon Britain,” she said.

"This island nation should be producing its energy from cheaper, renewable clean sources - not diverting even more resources towards new nuclear which is both eye-wateringly expensive and far too slow to get online."

> Read the Government's announcement