Delivering advanced nuclear energy: the role of government
Our paper explores the actions only government can take to ensure nuclear energy fulfils its potential in supporting net zero and enhancing energy security.
It is clear that the UK government sees a significant role for nuclear energy both in meeting the UK’s legally binding commitment to net zero, and in enhancing energy security.
Delivering advanced nuclear: the role of government
It is also clear that new nuclear development in the UK will not be a state enterprise; instead, the state must create an environment in which the private sector is willing to make huge capital investments.
Over the course of the three ‘waves’ of nuclear energy, envisaged in the 2019 Energy White Paper, the government has a huge enabling role; with different enabling activities required for each wave. The Third Wave, which considers Advanced Modular Reactor (AMR) technologies – of which High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor (HTGR) is preferred – is especially complex due to the immaturity of the technologies and the commercial, regulatory and political challenges facing developers.
Our paper explores the actions that only government can take, which will smooth a path to a UK demonstration of HTGR technology by the early 2030s, and without which there is little prospect of progress.
William Bodel - Research Associate in Nuclear Systems Choice, Dalton Nuclear Institute
Will's doctoral research into nuclear engineering materials focused on nuclear graphite and its behaviour under reactor conditions. He subsequently worked on material fracture and life-extension of the UK’s AGR fleet. His current research focus is on energy policy, and nuclear systems choice for net zero.
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Adrian Bull MBE - BNFL Chair in Nuclear Energy and Society, Dalton Nuclear Institute
Adrian holds his Dalton role alongside a position as the National Nuclear Laboratory's External Relations Director. He also worked for BNFL for 23 years and Westinghouse for six. He was awarded an MBE for his work on improving stakeholder engagement around nuclear issues – a subject he is passionate about.
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Gregg Butler - Head of Strategic Assessment, Dalton Nuclear Institute
Gregg has over 50 years’ experience in most aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle: R&D, planning, commercial, plant, site and company operations and management, director and advisory committee roles. He has published extensively on nuclear topics, and is currently concentrating on Nuclear Energy’s role in Net Zero.
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Juan Matthews - Visiting Professor in Nuclear Energy Technology, Dalton Nuclear Institute
Starting as a theoretical physicist Juan carried out and managed research on nuclear safety and advanced reactor systems at Harwell. He later set up and managed activities across Asia for AEA Technology, before working on international business and innovation in the nuclear and energy sectors, mainly for Government.
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Francis Livens - Director, Dalton Nuclear Institute
With more than 35 years’ research experience across the fuel cycle, Francis has acted as advisor to the nuclear sector both in the UK and overseas. Francis is a member of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority Board, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (awarded the 2021 Becquerel Medal) and Member of the Institute of Strategic Studies.
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The University of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute is a world-leading cross-disciplinary nuclear research institute, providing research across the whole fuel cycle, delivering impact to industry, governments and regulators, and supporting the UK’s long term nuclear ambition. Read more about the Dalton Nuclear Institute.