Home Estate Planning Spring Budget 2024: Hunt completes nuclear u-turn with £160m Hitachi deal

Spring Budget 2024: Hunt completes nuclear u-turn with £160m Hitachi deal

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Nuclear has featured prominently in the chancellor’s Spring Budget 2024 speech, headlined by the government buying back two potential reactor sites after the developer pulled out.

Speaking to the House of Commons today, Jeremy Hunt confirmed that the government has paid £160m to buy the projects in Wylfa, North Wales and Oldbury, Gloucestershire back from Japanese technology giant Hitachi.

The firm intended to start construction of the projects back in 2014 but eventually abandoned its plans in 2020 as a result of a run of delays and extension costs.

“Wylfa at Ynys Mon has a vital role in delivering our nuclear ambitions,” he said.

“We want nuclear to provide up to 25 per cent of UK electricity by 2050 and I want the UK to lead the global race in developing cutting edge nuclear technologies.”

Over the past year, nuclear has contributed around 14 per cent of the UK’s power generation mix and over the course of 2023, it fell to a 40-year low.

The burgeoning small module reactor programme, unveiled in the Great British Nuclear Roadmap at the outset of this year, also received a boost in today’s Spring Budget 2024 speech, with Hunt declaring the second stage of the selection process for developers to bid for tenders.

Major developer Westinghouse announced last month that it had won a tender to deploy the UK’s first privately-financed small modular reactor fleet.

“Great British Nuclear will begin next phase of small module reactor selection process with companies having until June to submit their initial tender responses,” he said.

Additionally, the chancellor announced that the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero will receive up to £120m in additional funding through the green industry growth accelerator to build up supply chains for technologies like offshore wind and carbon capture and storage.

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