UK puts nuclear power at the heart of its net zero emissions strategy – .

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UK puts nuclear power at the heart of its net zero emissions strategy – .


British ministers will put nuclear energy at the heart of Britain’s strategy to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 in government documents due as early as next week, along with new details on its funding model.

Kwasi Kwarteng, business secretary, is due to unveil as of Monday a global document on the “Net Zero Strategy”, as well as a “Heating and construction strategy” and an assessment of the Treasury of the cost to reach the 2050 target.

The main strategy will be heavily focused on the long overdue and slow British nuclear program. The country’s existing reactors are expected to be phased out by 2035, with construction of a single large plant, Hinkley Point C, already underway.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was due to give the green light to strategy papers on Friday during a “day away” from cabinet in the West Country.

The creation of a “regulated asset base” (RAB) model will be the key to the delivery of a future fleet of large nuclear power plants. The RAB funding model is already being used for other infrastructure projects, such as London’s Thames Tideway super sewer.

Under this program, households will be billed for the cost of the plant via an energy tax long before it starts producing electricity, which could take a decade or more from the time. where the final investment decision is made.

The mechanism is designed to encourage investment from institutional investors, such as pension funds, ensuring stable returns from the start. Legislation on the nuclear RAB model will be released later this month.

However, opponents of the model argue that consumers could be affected by the construction cost overruns. French utility EDF plans to use an RAB model to finance a new 3.2 gigawatt plant at Sizewell B in Suffolk, south-east England.

In North Wales, the US nuclear company Westinghouse is considering relaunching plans for a nuclear power plant in Wylfa that was abandoned by Japanese Hitachi in 2019.

The ministers also support small modular reactors (SMRs) which are being developed by a consortium led by Rolls-Royce. Supporters of SMRs say these could be built in factories and have lower costs and risks than large atomic power plants.

SMRs were also a key part of French President Emmanuel Macron’s € 30 billion investment plan announced earlier this week to boost his country’s green and high-tech industries.

Kwarteng has set a target of 2035 for the UK power system to achieve net decarbonization, leveraging a combination of nuclear power, renewables and ‘carbon capture and storage’ (CCS) programs attached to it. gas-fired power plants.

Companies involved in CCS programs, including BP, Drax Harbor Energy and Royal Dutch Shell, are awaiting a government decision on which projects will be developed first.

The document should avoid the controversial idea of ​​asking the public to eat less meat, despite the beef industry’s high carbon footprint.

The heating and building strategy, which will be released alongside the broader net zero review, will include a new 2035 target for a ban on installing new domestic gas boilers.

The government is currently developing plans to subsidize electric pumps with grants of £ 5,000 for air source heat pumps and £ 6,000 for ground source heat pumps.

The Treasury is also expected to issue a final document on the costs of reaching net zero in a few days, before Glasgow hosts the COP26 global climate talks at the end of the month.

Its Net Zero Interim Review, released in December, warned that forcing consumers to pay for carbon emissions could hurt low-income families harder, unless ministers provide support.

The Treasury has proposed that subsidies for electric cars be reduced from their current £ 2,500 per vehicle, a move opposed by transport and business departments.

Video: Power ahead: Scotland’s pioneering role in renewable energy

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