London (Times Of Ocean)- The UK could build up to seven new nuclear power stations in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a cabinet minister revealed.
‘We could have six or seven sites in the UK’ by 2050, says Kwasi Kwarteng.
“There is a world where we have six or seven sites in the UK” by 2050, business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told The Sunday Telegraph.
Earlier this week, the newspaper reported ministers had agreed to establish a new “development vehicle”, dubbed Great British Nuclear, that it hopes will identify sites, cut red tape for planning purposes, and bring in private firms to run each site.
Boris Johnson will announce that the government will significantly increase its existing commitment to one large-scale nuclear power plant by 2024.
There had been reports in the past few weeks that the prime minister and Mr Kwarteng had been at odds with Rishi Sunak over securing funding for new plants.
Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak met on Wednesday, and the newspaper claims they agreed to expand the UK’s existing network of nuclear plants, which all but one are due to be decommissioned by 2030.
Britain’s new energy security plan, to be unveiled on Thursday, is expected to commit the government to supporting at least two new large nuclear plants by 2030, as well as small modular reactors.
The prime minister and the business secretary will then aim to triple the country’s current seven gigawatts of nuclear power capacity to 24GW by 2050, according to the newspaper.
According to Mr. Kwarteng, France relies on nuclear power for the majority of its electricity: “It has cost a fortune, but it has given them a measure of independence that is envied by others on the continent, such as the Germans and Italians.”
Another source told the Telegraph the prime minister hosted a roundtable last week with renewable energy firms to urge them to build a “colossal” offshore wind farm in the Irish Sea within the next year.
According to reports, Johnson told those present that he has “a dream” that a giant floating wind farm could produce “gigawatts of energy and do it within a year”.
A document currently undergoing finalization by Downing Street would require nuclear and offshore wind energy to take center stage following rows sparked by Mr Kwarteng’s bid to help boost onshore wind farms, despite a moratorium imposed under David Cameron’s leadership in 2015.
The move could result in a relaxation of planning laws in England, which can make it easier to erect wind turbines on land.
In the face of opposition, Kwartend conceded: “Any movement must have a large measure of consent.”