The launch of Great British Nuclear (GBN) has placed a renewed focus on a collection of online articles featuring research and evidence-led recommendations from University of Manchester nuclear energy experts.
Going Nuclear, published by the University’s policy engagement unit Policy@Manchester, has already been warmly received by MPs and peers from across the political parties.
Last month Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps invited companies to register their interest with GBN for funding to develop small nuclear reactors which “can be made in factories and could transform how power stations are built by making construction faster, and less expensive.”
Responding to the announcement, Professor Adrian Bull MBE, Chair in Nuclear Energy and Society at The University of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute, questioned the Government’s assertion that GBN “will drive the rapid expansion of new nuclear power plants in the UK at an unprecedented scale and pace.”
He said: “Britain built 11 new nuclear power stations – 26 reactors in all – in just 15 years from 1956. I don’t see a plan that exceeds that ambition.”
Going Nuclear features several contributions from Professor Bull including a powerful piece describing the vital role development companies could play “as clients for GBN who can act as the voice of regions and potentially of investors.”
He explains: “These organisations – such as Solway Community Power in Cumbria and Cwmni Egino in North Wales – could well act as the catalysts for bringing the various pieces of the jigsaw together. Not only that – they can do so in a way which puts the local community and the site at the forefront of the project, rather than alienating key local stakeholders as some past projects have done.”
In her foreword to Going Nuclear, Professor Maria Sharmina, Academic Co-Director of Policy@Manchester, warns that progress in the nuclear industry has followed a pattern of start and stall under successive governments, adding, “That must change if we are to catalyse our nuclear capability.”
She writes: “The Dalton Nuclear Institute and Policy@Manchester recommendations in this collection provide thought leadership on the next steps to secure nuclear energy in a low-carbon and cost-effective energy transition.”
Going Nuclear has won praise from members of both Houses of Parliament.
Peter Aldous, Conservative MP for Waveney, said; “Nuclear offers a readily available low-carbon baseload for our future energy system when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing.
“Initiatives such as Going Nuclear can provide policymakers with the evidence and recommendations required to realise the UK’s nuclear energy capability and I commend everyone involved in this important work.”
Labour peer, Lord McNicol of West Kilbride, said; “New nuclear has a critical role to play in the nation’s energy mix.
“At a time when we face a global climate crisis and challenges around energy security, this timely new resource not only identifies the current barriers to adoption and expansion of nuclear but also offers guidance to policymakers to help overcome them.”
Virginia Crosbie Conservative MP for Ynys Môn, said; “New nuclear is essential if we are to achieve our net zero goals by helping to decarbonise not just the energy generating sectors, but transport and homes too.
“Equipping policymakers with the evidence and recommendations to push forward with new nuclear power is key to ensuring we retain a clean, safe and prosperous United Kingdom.”
Going Nuclear is available to read on the Policy@Manchester website.