Ian Mean shares views on importance of nuclear energy
By Cat Hage
In sync with the Government announcing its Great British Nuclear (GBN) programme, Ian Mean, Business West Gloucestershire director and vice-chair at GFirstLEP commented:
"I hope the announcement will be a big boost for the Western Gateway's Severn Edge project at Berkeley Green and Oldbury.
You may remember how our local councils and all our county MPs really got behind the Severn Edge bid to Government to develop a £200 million prototype fusion plant on the two former decommissioned nuclear sites at Berkeley and Oldbury.
Our bid for STEP-the Spherical Tokamak for Energy production failed.
It will now be based at a former coal power station site in Nottingham.
In my view, politics played a part in where STEP was sited.
But we are not downhearted because we believe the Berkeley and Oldbury sites could have a major part to play in the UK's new nuclear strategy.
They are being considered for the new Small Modular Reactors (SMR) which are being developed in the UK by Rolls Royce with worldwide competition.
These SMRs are around the size of three soccer pitches each, and at around £2 billion each are, of course, much cheaper than big power station builds.
And it's good to see Stroud's MP, Siobhan Baillie, backing the SMRs plan.
I noted what she wrote in last week's Stroud News & Journal.
Siobhan Baillie said: "Nuclear is a big deal. I do not understand why it is not completely popular across absolutely everybody.
"It is a zero-emission clean-energy source that the environmentalists should be entirely pro. It backs up renewables too."
Siobhan is so right. Here in Gloucestershire, we have an enormous legacy of nuclear energy skills.
They are part of the industrial DNA of our county which is well and truly embedded and accepted as part of Gloucestershire's heritage of energy innovation.
The Government's aptly named Great British Nuclear needs to recognise these skills and the support of our local communities for nuclear energy here in one of this country's scientific cradles where it has been developed over the years."
Punchline-Gloucester added: On Wednesday, July 19, the UK government officially launched Great British Nuclear (GBN), an arms-length body operating through a repurposed British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) Ltd to deliver the government's long-term nuclear program and support the government's ambition to deliver up to 24GW of nuclear power in the UK by 2050.
This could mean nearly a quarter of the UK's total power demands being met by low-carbon, secure nuclear energy, supporting the UK's energy security, and contributing to net-zero targets.
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