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DWF comments on the UK Governments commitment to small nuclear technology

09 November 2021
Darren Walsh, UK Head of Energy and Partner and Shane Toal, Partner share their thoughts on the UK Governments commitment to small nuclear technology. Read more here.
Commenting on the news that the UK Government has committed £210 million to develop small modular reactors in the UK, matched by private investment, Darren Walsh, UK Head of Energy and Partner at DWF, said:

"We welcome the announcement regarding the Government's commitment to developing small modular reactors. The financial commitment sends a strong message to this nascent market at a time when it is most needed. The private sector investment also demonstrates a strong partnership between public and private interests in the development of the UK's new nuclear energy generation sector.

"With two out of the four planned new large-scale nuclear new build projects failing (and possibly a third) in recent years, due to the lack of a bankable funding arrangement, based upon contracts for difference; and latterly the regulated asset base model, we have seen a large number of potential nuclear technology and development companies exit the UK with huge sunk costs for their potential developments. With siting options already undertaken with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority for large-scale new nuclear build, we hope that today's announcement will serve as a shot in the arm for new nuclear build with small modular and medium modular reactors taking the lead on establishing firm and stable low/zero carbon energy generation for the UK and beyond."

Shane Toal, Partner at DWF, added:

"This has a potential to close the gap in base load, whilst addressing some of the intermittency issues we face as a consequence of various factors, including changing weather patterns, but also energy shocks like the ones we have encountered this year with the loss of a key strategic interconnector and gas market turbulence, all of which placed added pressure on our security of supply.

"If, as has been suggested by BEIS, the deployment of this technology can be done so more quickly and cheaply than before, then it maybe a way to accelerate the shift towards securing cleaner energy. What will be equally interesting to see is whether the UK's regulatory and planning systems can match the pace of change required to enable the deployment of this technology quickly."

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