UK commits £300m to high-assay low-enriched uranium production

The UK is investing £300m to support domestic production of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) for use in the next generation of nuclear reactors.


The investment is part of government plans to help deliver up to 24GW of nuclear power by 2050 and to lessen reliance on Russia for a supply of HALEU.

An additional £10m will also be provided to develop the skills and sites to produce other advanced nuclear fuels in the UK. 

According to the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ), this builds on the UK’s status as a world leader in the production of nuclear fuels, with domestic capability in uranium enrichment and in fuel fabrication in the North-West of England.

In a statement,  Claire Coutinho, secretary of state for Energy Security and Net Zero, said: “Britain gave the world its first operational nuclear power plant, and now we will be the first nation in Europe outside of Russia to produce advanced nuclear fuel.

“This will be critical for energy security at home and abroad and builds on Britain’s historic competitive advantages.”

DESNZ added that advanced modular reactors will play an important role in the UK’s nuclear revival as they are smaller, can be made in factories, and could transform how power stations are built by making construction faster and less expensive. Many designs have the potential for a range of applications beyond low-carbon electricity generation, including the production of hydrogen or industrial heat. 

With the first plant scheduled to be operational in the early 2030s, the funding will boost the North West of England’s nuclear fuel production hub, supporting local industry and jobs while helping to expand the revival of nuclear energy in the UK and overseas. 

This is said to build on the UK’s work to displace Russia from the global nuclear fuels market, particularly in uranium conversion services, where government and industry are together investing up to £26m to bring this capability back to the UK by the end of the decade.