News & Insights


NI Response to Great British Nuclear Launch

The NI welcomes the announcements of July 18th 2023 made by the Right Honourable Grant Shapps, Secretary of State Energy Security and Net Zero which amplify the ambitions of the UK Government to deliver up to 24GW of new nuclear build in the United Kingdom in support of both Net Zero and Energy Security. 

This announcement offers some welcome details on how the UK Government intends to deliver the construction of 24Gw of nuclear power capacity by 2050. It also outlines the important first steps which will be played by Great British Nuclear (GBN) the newly-launched “arms-length body” which will be tasked with delivering policy and outcomes at pace.  

Small Modular Reactor Competition

The announcements mark the start of a two-phase SMR competition, with an immediate invitation for interested parties to register interest and submit information in a questionnaire outlining their proposals.

The competition and future programme will be administered and delivered by Great British Nuclear. The competition will be accompanied by an outline contract note which signals that up to £20bn could be made available to enable a procurement in support of development of a number of technologies or development proposals, up to a maturity that may support a future FID or further choices, including up to operations.

This is intended to unlock billions of pounds of public and private sector investment, and deliver a number of technologies building on existing capability. Furthermore it aims to capitalise on the strong nuclear heritage and hugely skilled workforce in the UK and once again position the UK on the global stage as a leading nuclear nation in support of the Net Zero mission.

Once the initial competition stage is complete, technologies meeting the criteria will be down-selected by GBN, taking place in Autumn 2023. GBN will then enter into detailed discussions with selected companies as part of an Invitation to Negotiate phase. The intention is to enable a Final Investment Decision by 2029.

The chosen companies and technologies will receive support for:

  • funding to support technology development site-specific design
  • a close partnership with GBN, which will be ready and able to provide developer capability
  • accessing sites


The NI SMR Special Interest Group last week hosted a webinar: The opportunities and challenges of SMR fleet deployments. NI Members can access the recording via the NI Webinar Library.

£157m funding package for AMR and Nuclear Fuel projects

Beyond the SMR competition launch, the Government has also announced further funding totalling £157m for advanced nuclear projects.

Up to £77.1 million of funding for companies to accelerate advanced nuclear business development in the UK and support advanced nuclear designs to enter UK regulation.

Up to £58 million funding for the further development and design of a type of advanced modular reactor (AMR) and next generation fuel, going to the National Nuclear Laboratory and Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation UK.

Finally, a further £22.3 million from the Nuclear Fuel Fund will enable 8 projects to develop new fuel production and manufacturing capabilities in the UK.

Launch of Great British Nuclear

Government Minister Andrew Bowie MP speaking at the launch event

These programmes signal and create initial pathways towards delivering the technical promise of Small and Advanced Nuclear in support of Net Zero delivery, beyond grid decarbonisation for example into Green Hydrogen generation. 

Importantly, a consultation will also be launched to consider how private investors can be best enabled to support the Net Zero mission, in recognition of the emergence of a number of parties excited by the potential of nuclear. For example, investors seeking to fund developments and industry who may wish to be customers and clients for both heat and power.

This package of announcements signals a true landmark moment for the UK and those who work within the industry today, and for many who will come to the industry in the future.

The Nuclear Institute as the membership body accountable for professional standards and development of those employed in the sector welcomes this day, and stands ready to work towards delivery of the future of the UK as a leading nuclear nation.

"GBN is core to delivering the government’s new nuclear programme.

Building on the work done at Hinkley Point and Sizewell, today’s announcement of the start of the SMR selection process signifies a real step forward in delivering the scale of nuclear power that Britain needs for secure, sustainable energy future.

We look forward to working with all interested parties – technology vendors, the supply chain, the wider industry and local communities as we move this essential programme forward”.

Simon Bowen HonFNucI, interim chair of GBN


NI President and YGN Chair

 NI President Jasbir Sidhu and NI YGN Chair Carwyn Chamberlain attended the launch event

“I’m pleased to see the UK is back in action on Nuclear. It’s vital we realise new nuclear projects for electricity generation if we have any chance of reaching 24Gw nuclear capacity by 2050, as well as capitalising on the big export opportunity of SMRs”.

Jasbir Sidhu, President of the Nuclear Institute