UK gives out £102 million for nuclear and hydrogen innovation

The UK government provides new funding to support clean energy production in the UK.

The funding announced today includes £25 million for technologies that can produce hydrogen from sustainable biomass and waste while removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, as well as £77 million to increase nuclear fuel production and support the development of the next generation of advanced nuclear reactors.

Nuclear investment

With the announcement of funding worth up to £60 million to launch the next stage of research into the cutting-edge high temperature gas reactor (HTGR), a type of advanced modular reactor (AMR), which could be operational by the early 2030s, the government is committing to new and innovative nuclear energy. By the end of the decade, a demonstration project of the engineering design is intended to be operational thanks to financing from the Advanced Modular Reactor R&D program.

HTGRs are frequently more flexible, smaller, and less expensive to construct than traditional nuclear power plants. In addition to producing electricity that may be used to power houses safely, it is believed that HTGRs will increase the UK’s energy security and sovereignty by reducing its dependency on pricey fossil fuels and by producing byproducts like low-carbon hydrogen. HTGRs offer a source of clean, high temperature heat that could aid in the decarbonization of industrial operations in the UK by producing temperatures of up to 950 degrees.

A extra £4 million in financing for the AMR Knowledge Capture Effort, a companion project to the AMR Research, Development, and Demonstration program, supports the funding for HTGR innovation. In order to speed up, lower the risk, and lower the cost of delivering the program, the initiative aims to improve knowledge gathering and sharing.

Additionally, Westinghouse in Preston, which is strategically significant in generating fuel for the present UK advanced gas cooled reactor fleet, will get up to £13 million in funding. The money will allow the UK to reduce its reliance on imports from abroad and assist the company in developing the capacity to produce new fuel using both reprocessed and newly mined uranium. This substantial investment will protect hundreds of highly skilled jobs in the northwest at the Westinghouse Springfields factory in Lancashire.

Ministers anticipate that it would increase the UK’s energy security, open up new export markets for the industry, and establish the UK as a significant global provider of nuclear fuel and fuel cycle services.

The announcement was made a fortnight after ministers said that Sizewell C in Suffolk would get a historic £700 million investment from the state, marking the first time in over 30 years that a nuclear project will receive state support. For more than 50 years, the power plant will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 6 million homes.

Hydrogen technology

Accelerating the use of hydrogen, which is destined to become a superfuel of the future, will be essential to the UK’s transition to a cleaner energy future, along with the government’s efforts to expand the use of nuclear and renewable energy sources to increase the country’s energy security.

The government has pledged £25 million to speed up the deployment of BECCS, a cutting-edge “negative emission” technology that can permanently remove CO2 from the environment, which produces hydrogen from bioenergy. During the process of producing hydrogen, biomass absorbs CO2 as it grows, which is subsequently trapped and permanently stored.

Hydrogen On the UK’s route to net zero emissions, BECCS technologies will be crucial because they will provide hydrogen as a clean fuel for hard-to-decarbonize industries like transportation and heavy industry. The investment announced today will go directly toward advancing BECCS projects from the design to demonstration phases, enabling the technology to eventually be included into our regular energy system.

As a part of the UK’s green industrial revolution, the government is taking numerous initiatives, including this program, to create a thriving low-carbon hydrogen sector.

Today’s announcements also include measures to raise the efficiency requirements for new gas boilers, which might reduce homes’ reliance on pricey fossil fuels and result in lower energy costs. By increasing boiler efficiency, carbon emissions will be reduced as we move toward the 2035 phase-out of new and replacement natural-gas-only boilers. According to the idea, 21 million tonnes of CO2 can be avoided by 2050, which is the same as removing approximately 9 million cars from the road for a full year.

In order to be ready for any potential future transition to the use of low-carbon hydrogen for heating, the government is also consulting on a plan that would require all new domestic-scale gas boilers sold starting in 2026 to be capable of being powered by hydrogen.