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Nuclear Power: Procurement

Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN 20567, tabled on 22 June 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help ensure that the expertise of the UK nuclear supply chain is protected when the existing nuclear fleet comes offline.

Answered on

30 June 2021

In June 2021, the Government announced new arrangements to work in partnership with EDF, the owners and operators of the UK’s existing nuclear power stations, to decommission the seven Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors (AGR) stations when they cease generation. These seven AGR stations are all due to have closed by 2030, while the Pressurised Water Reactor, Sizewell B, will continue to operate well beyond 2030. Under the new arrangements EDF will defuel the AGR stations (remove the nuclear fuel) and then the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) will take ownership of the stations on a rolling basis to manage the long term decommissioning programme. These arrangements will harness EDF’s unique expertise in defueling the AGR reactors and the NDA’s extensive experience of decommissioning nuclear plants and facilities in the UK. This approach will provide significant potential cost savings for the taxpayer and will provide for the skilled jobs of UK workers to continue during defueling and beyond.

Meanwhile the Government is committed to ensuring that the UK nuclear supply chain has opportunities from future nuclear projects, whether further large-scale projects or Small Modular Reactors. Government support to help companies in the supply chain includes a commitment made in the Nuclear Sector Deal to develop – with industry – a £30m supply chain productivity and improvement programme designed in particular to help SMEs win work. Government is also requiring developers of future new build projects to set out opportunities for the supply chain in a Supply Chain Plan.