News & Insights


Nuclear Institute response to Government Energy Security Plan

The UK Government today has confirmed further details about the creation of Great British Nuclear, including the appointment of Gwen Parry-Jones OBE HonFNucI as interim CEO.

The news came as part of the Powering Up Britain: Energy Security Plan, following the recent launch of Great British Nuclear (GBN), classification of nuclear as sustainable in the Green Taxonomy and another SMR Funding Competition by the Chancellor in the Budget on 15th March.

GBN will begin recruiting a fully staffed team, to be located “in or around the Greater Manchester area”. Simon Bowen, nuclear adviser to the Prime Minister, was announced as GBN interim Chair.

According to the plan, the first priority for GBN is to launch a competitive process to select the best SMR technologies, starting with a first phase in April 2023 with market engagement. A down selection process will be launched in the summer, with an ambition to assess and decide on the leading technologies by autumn. 

The need for nuclear to support energy security

Encouragingly, this new plan completely or partially accepts 23 of the 25 recommendations of the Skidmore report “Mission Zero”. However it does not go far enough into explaining how the target of 24 GW of nuclear by 2050 will be implemented beyond already announced targets for Sizewell C or the AMR demonstration competition.  

New nuclear power is central to the UK’s energy security and climate strategies, and remains the only proven, non-weather dependent source of low-carbon electricity.

Jasbir Sidhu, President of the Nuclear Institute commented:

It is good to see the first concrete steps towards the formation and operation of Great British Nuclear – it has been a long time coming for the industry. It should be reiterated that Government, industry and potential investors must move quickly in order to fully realise the benefits of this programme. Only then will we really be able to see real progress in terms of reaching Net Zero and growing the economy”.

Gwen Parry-Jones OBE HonFNucI announced as interim CEO of GBN

To facilitate the creation of GBN, Gwen Parry-Jones OBE HonFNucI was announced as interim CEO of the new body tasked with delivering these challenging targets. She will take over from 1st May 2023.

Gwen is currently the CEO of Magnox and has led teams and projects at a senior level in project development and delivery, governance, safety, security and nuclear oversight and assurance. 

She has worked extensively with senior-level technical, scientific, professional, government, local community, unions and regulatory bodies. Gwen has both UK and international experience across the energy generation sector, including in nuclear, conventional, renewables and storage technologies.

Gwen is the only woman in the UK to have held the post of Station Director at a UK civil nuclear facility and was awarded the honour of Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2015 for her lifetime’s work in services to Science and Technology. 

Sarah Beacock, CEO of the Nuclear Institute commented:

As a past President of the Nuclear Institute, Gwen guided us through the challenge of the Covid pandemic, so I have no doubt she will provide the leadership required for this vital role.”