Government needs Nuclear Strategic Plan to deliver 24GW by 2050

The government needs to implement a Nuclear Strategic Plan if it is to realise ambitions to deliver 24GW by 2050, a report from the Science, Innovation and Technology Committee has found.

CGI of proposed Sizewell C nuclear power station
CGI of proposed Sizewell C nuclear power station - EDF

The Committee noted that the 24GW target is almost double the highest installed nuclear capacity the UK has ever achieved and would involve new gigawatt-scale nuclear power, small modular reactors (SMRs) and advanced modular reactors (AMRs), and further development of nuclear fusion. To achieve this, substantial progress will be needed on technologies, financing, skills, regulation, decommissioning and waste management.

According to the report, the government target does not equate to strategy and its aspiration to deploy a new nuclear reactor every year is more of a ‘wish list’ than a detailed and specific plan. Similarly, the purpose of launched Great British Nuclear is unclear beyond its initial task of running a selection between competing SMR developers.

On SMRs, a Nuclear Strategic Plan should address suppliers (single or multiple), suitable sites, and the financial model used to pay for them. Each of these questions will require a clear answer if vendors are to be able to take decisions on whether and when to take the next steps towards deploying SMRs, the report said.


The industry will also need between 75,000 and 150,000 new recruits if the 24GW is to be realised. This would require coordinated actions by the whole sector, namely the government, existing nuclear operators, developers, regulators and educational institutions.

Greg Clark, chair of the Science, Innovation and Technology Committee, said: “The only way to achieve [24GW] is to translate these very high-level aspirations into a comprehensive, concrete and detailed Nuclear Strategic Plan which is developed jointly with the nuclear industry, which enjoys long term cross-party political commitment, and which therefore offers dependability for private and public investment decisions.

“Done right, the UK can be in the vanguard of delivering nuclear innovation, jobs and clean, affordable and reliable energy. But there is now an urgent need to turn hopes into actions.”

Industry experts who gave evidence to the Committee called for a strategic plan that integrates commitments from a range of stakeholders and which is designed to go beyond the lifetime of any single government. The Committee recommended that such a comprehensive Nuclear Strategic Plan should be drawn up, consulted upon and agreed before the end of the current Parliament.

A summary of the report can be found here.