March 15th 2023: The UK government has announced plans to include nuclear energy as an environmentally sustainable source of power in its green taxonomy, opening up opportunities for investment in the sector. In a set-piece address to the House of Commons, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt confirmed that nuclear power will be given the same investment incentives as renewable energy, subject to consultation. This move comes as the UK seeks to meet its net-zero obligations and increase its nuclear capacity.
Jeremy Hunt also announced the launch of Great British Nuclear, a project that will bring down costs and provide opportunities across the nuclear supply chain. This is in addition to a challenge to be completed by the end of the year, which could lead to co-funding for Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). The government’s ambition is to select the leading technologies for SMRs by the end of the year and, if demonstrated to be viable, co-fund this exciting new technology in the UK.
The issue of whether to include nuclear energy in green taxonomies has been a contentious one in recent years, as governments seek to target spending and investment in areas that can help meet net-zero goals. The European Union included nuclear energy - with conditions and only on a transitory basis - within its green taxonomy last year.
Currently, there are dozens of different designs for Small Modular Reactors, with projects at different stages in a number of different countries. The potential global market for SMRs is huge, and the UK is looking to capitalise on this by selecting leading technologies for co-funding.
The UK's move to include nuclear energy in its green taxonomy is a significant step towards meeting its net-zero obligations. The co-funding of Small Modular Reactors could provide a much-needed boost to the nuclear industry, creating jobs and investment opportunities in the UK. With the potential for a huge global market in the coming years, the UK is well placed to capitalise on this emerging technology and become a leading player in the nuclear industry.