In recent weeks the UK Government launched Great British Nuclear (GBN) – a long-term response to advance Britain’s nuclear power industry and reinforce our energy security. We take a look at who the operating body is and how their plans will help with the continued efforts to move towards net zero.
Who are Great British Nuclear?
It may be the latest initiative from Westminster, but in fact it’s British Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL) repurposed - an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. The newly (re)launched operating body will drive the capacity of clean energy production, in line with the Government’s pledge to deliver the construction of 24 GW nuclear generated power capacity by 2050.
Its introduction has been welcomed by the Nuclear Institute, which they say amplifies the ambition for the UK Government to deliver nuclear new build in support of net zero and energy security.
If targets are achieved, this could see close to a quarter of the UK’s overall power demand being met by nuclear energy, providing a low-carbon alternative.
In line with the news of Great British Nuclear, the Government also announced a grant funding package of £157 million.
With up to £77.1 million to accelerate advanced nuclear business development such as Small Modular Reactor technology, as well as up to £58 million funding to further develop the design of an Advanced Modular Reactor (AMR) and next generation fuel. Operating at a higher temperature than SMRs, AMRs could also support hydrogen as well as nuclear power.
£22.3 million of the Nuclear Fuel Fund has been earmarked to enable 8 new fuel production projects, including Westinghouse Springfields in Preston and Urenco in Capenhurst, Chester.
Advancing Small Modular Reactors
The introduction of Great British Nuclear will see the launch of the first staged competition from across the world, that industry experts hope will see Small Modular Reactors (SMR) move a step closer to production. Something the Government says will be the initial focus of GBN.
They’ve committed to an SMR technology selection process which should result in at least one project Final Investment Decision (FID) to support a Small Modular Reactor project. Setting a timescale to identify those vendors best placed to reach a project FID by the end of 2029.
In April 2023 Rolls-Royce SMR’s 470 MW design completed its first step of the Generic Design Assessment (GDA), when the Environment Agency, the Office for Nuclear Regulation and Natural Resources Wales announced the design would progress to the next phase of their assessment.
Advancing nuclear new build
The formation of Great British Nuclear also marks progress for nuclear new build projects, with the Government introducing new measures to speed up preparations for Sizewell C. Located next to Sizewell B on the Suffolk coast, the new build project will see the construction of a 3.2 GW nuclear power station with the capacity to produce low-carbon power for at least 60 years – following a replica design of the Hinkley Point C station currently under construction.
Campaigning to bring to life plans for Sizewell C has been ongoing for several years – with NRL proud to be an early member of the Sizewell C Consortium to help champion the important role the nuclear new build plant will play in the energy transition.
The new measures from the Government include a further £170 million investment, which it hopes will help to attract private investment into nuclear new build projects such as Sizewell C. With funding used to prepare the site for construction, whilst securing key components from the project’s supply chain.
In March 2023, the Environment Agency granted the permit required before construction of the nuclear power station can be built. At peak, Sizewell C is expected to provide 10,000 jobs across the project’s supply chain.
Did you know?
The name British Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL) is a familiar one to NRL. Having started our business in 1983 supporting the nuclear power industry in Cumbria with Non-Destructive Testing services, our expertise quickly grew to include technical and engineering recruitment, to help with the demand for finding the right skills and expertise to support work on-site. We were therefore delighted to formally sign a contract with BNFL in 1999 to deliver our nuclear expertise.
For four decades we’ve continued to support the nuclear sector from new build to outages and decommissioning – providing opportunities for thousands of people to gain experience working within the nuclear sector.
The latest net zero roles from NRL
If you're searching for a new role to support the energy transition, then have a look at our latest job vacancies below:
South Shields, Permanent, Salary negotiable
A great opportunity to join a company taking a leading role in Energy Transition, acting as a line manager to an offshore maintenance shift consisting of technicians, shift supervisors and coordinators.
Leeds, Permanent, £50,000 - £65,000 per annum
A great opportunity to get into or further develop your career in the Energy from Waste sector, ensuring the planning, organisation and delivery of all scaffolding operations.
Tyne and Wear, Permanent, Negotiable
Manage commercial operations for all phases of a major wind farm including liaison with multiple external stakeholders.
Leicester, Permanent, Salary negotiable
Manage a service team, working closely with project managers and site supervisors to deliver service activities on time and within budget.
Interested in working in nuclear?
We regularly recruit for positions supporting the UK’s nuclear industry, and you’ll find some of those roles below.
Bridgwater, Contract, £19.91 per hour
Ideal 18-month contract role for an Electrician with previous experience working on nuclear sites, including testing, fault finding and machinery maintenance.
Somerset, Permanent, Salary negotiable
Great opportunity to join a long-term project (2-3 years) installing and assembling HV switchgear, for Technicians with previous experience working in substations.
Somerset, Permanent, Salary negotiable
An exciting role supporting HV Switchgear jointing on a long-term basis, with potentially 2-3 years of work for jointers with previous experience.
Heysham, Permanent, £31,000 - £43,000 per annum
A fantastic position ideally suited to someone who has previous experience working in a regulated environment – amending, reviewing and distributing drawings and documents station-wide.
Looking for more roles?
To find the right role for you take a look at our latest jobs using the link below.
Get the latest Net Zero News
You can instantly receive updates like this by subscribing to our LinkedIn newsletter.