UK News Government poised to approve 16 mini nuclear reactors to hit net zero
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A planned new generation of mini nuclear reactors could protect Britain from future energy crises.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is poised to approve funding for British engineering giant Rolls-Royce to create a fleet of mini-reactors.
Ministers are understood to have adopted a 'change of focus' towards nuclear power amid the current crisis caused by rocketing global wholesale gas prices.
Rolls-Royce believes its plans to install at least 16 plants could create 40,000 jobs by 2050 in the Midlands, the north of England and other parts of the country.
Rolls-Royce's nuclear plan to mine on Moon
Dave Gordon, head of the company's defence division, said it is studying how a micro-nuclear reactor could be used to propel rockets while in space at huge speeds. He revealed that Rolls-Royce is investigating whether that technology could then be redeployed to provide energy for drilling, processing and storage for socalled 'Moon mining'. Valuable natural resources on the Moon include water, which can be converted to rocket fuel, and rare elements and metals that are used in energy production and electrical goods back on Earth.
According to the Sunday Times, a consortium led by the engineering firm has secured the necessary £210million to get matching funding from the taxpayer.
It comes amid news that Chinese investment in Britain's next generation of nuclear power stations is set to be banned on security grounds.
Ministers are set to formally bar any further involvement by China's General Nuclear Power Group in the £20billion Sizewell C nuclear power project.
The UK's seven nuclear plants provide about 17 per cent of its electricity needs, but that is due to nearly halve by 2024 as ageing plants are decommissioned
The Treasury, which was previously seen as the obstacle to new nuclear projects because of their rising cost, has reportedly also concluded that more nuclear power is needed.
BBC producers hired anti-nuclear campaigner to help make drama Vigil
The series' producers hired Scottish National Party councillor Feargal Dalton, who opposes the Trident system, to act as a script consultant and to provide advice on nuclear submarines. The six-part series, starring Suranne Jones, follows the mysterious disappearance of a Scottish fishing trawler and a death on-board the submarine HMS Vigil.The BBC said it 'consulted a range of advisers and experts to make Vigil' and that Mr Dalton had 'no editorial impact'.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is said to have made clear in a meeting on Friday that he thought nuclear should play a more prominent role in future energy policy.
A source close to Mr Sunak said his general view was that Britain should have had a weightier focus on nuclear 'ten years ago, when it was cheaper' but added that the country 'can't rely' on wind and solar power.
Mini reactors, known as Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), generate around 450 megawatts of power - around a seventh of what a conventional power station such as Hinkley Point produces.
State support for them was revealed in Prime Minister Boris Johnson's ten-point green industrial revolution plan that was released last November.
Recent data from the National Grid shows how dependent Britain remains on gas.
The country's electricity comes from sources which, other than gas and nuclear, include wind, hydro, biomass, imports and solar.
Aukus pact: North Korea warns of nuclear arms race as expert says China could seize on ‘lack of western unity’
The Aukus deal has between Britain, the United States and Australia to build nuclear-powered submarines has sparked French fury and a breakdown in diplomatic relationsProfessor Wyn Bowen, Head of School of Security Studies at King’s College London, told i that China and Russia may see an opportunity to take advantage of this perceived lack of unity.
Video: Soaring prices threaten energy firms (Sky News)
However, amounts vary considerably depending on the season, the weather and time of day.
Figures for last Friday show that at noon, the sun supplied 15.3 per cent of the UK's overall energy.
Wind was the biggest power source that day, responsible for almost 40 per cent of the energy mix at midday.
Nuclear energy offers consistent levels of power around the clock – providing more than a fifth of our energy in the early hours of Friday.
Biomass fuel, made by burning wood and other organic matter, is the UK's second-largest source of renewable electricity.
And whereas Britain once relied on coal, that accounted for just 0.6 per cent of supply between April and June – and none on Friday.
Imported energy hit 9 per cent of the total on Friday night, but hydropower production was minimal.
The Government's renewed focus on nuclear comes as ministers seek a way of blocking China from the Sizewell project.
However, CGN has a 20 per cent stake in the development of the project and an option to remain once it is built.
Fury as ministers pump millions into US firm to avoid food crisis
An deal is being finalised that will see CF Industries paid to restart production of CO2 after it closed down two UK sites because a surge in natural gas prices made them unprofitable. The Teesside and Cheshire sites supply 60 per cent of Britain's carbon dioxide (CO2) – which is essential for food production and packaging. Environment Secretary George Eustice today insisted the deal would be 'temporary' lasting three weeks and had been agreed after a 'perfect storm' hit production.
Treasury officials have looked at several options to replace China's financial backing of the project.
The favoured option is said to be a regulated asset base (RAB) model.
It has been used in other big infrastructure projects such as the Thames Tideway and requires legislation.
A Government spokeswoman told the Mail on Sunday: 'CGN is currently a shareholder in Sizewell C up until the point of the Government's final investment decision. Negotiations are ongoing and no final decision has been taken.'
Last week, it emerged that Mr Kwarteng is backing plans to build another major nuclear power plant in Wales to ease pressure on electricity supplies.
The Business Secretary is believed to be lining up behind an attempt to revive proposals for a site at Wylfa on Anglesey.
The project could happen alongside a second nuclear plant at Hinkley Point , Somerset, which is already under construction, and the Sizewell venture.
A previous attempt to build a nuclear power station at Wylfa collapsed a year ago after Japanese firm Hitachi pulled out.
But according to The Times the government is now in discussions with US manufacturer Westinghouse.
In May, pictures emerged of the moment that the world's largest crane lifted a massive steel ring into place at the Hinkley Point C site in Somerset.
It was the second of three prefabricated steel rings to form the reinforced cylinder around the new nuclear reactor at the new £23billion power station.
Britain's first nuclear power station, Calder Hall, in Cumbria, opened in 1956 - two years after the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKEA) was established.
It was the world's first nuclear power station to deliver electricity in commercial quantities.
Russia worries to see Australia Acquiring nuclear submarines .
Aukus-Securite / Russia-Australia: Russia worries to see Australia Acquiring nuclear submarines Moscow, October 1 (Reuters) - Russia has expressed its concern over Friday as to the consequences of the Agreement says Aukus announced by the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, which will allow the latter to enter the closed circle of countries with submarine countries nuclear power supply.