Boris Johnson wants to unveil new dawn for nuclear energy, but government splits over wind farm planning reform

Boris Johnson will this week make plans for a new generation of nuclear power plants in the UK as part of the government’s energy strategy.

The Prime Minister is understood to have won a number of funding Chancellor Rishi Sunakwhere the Ministry of Finance agreed to sign a project of 100 billion. GBP for the development of up to seven new nuclear facilities.

The majority of the costs are expected to be covered by the private sector, but some public funds are considered crucial to attract private investment.

The strategy, drawn up in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, will detail how the government hopes to reform Britain’s energy sector in the medium and long term.

But ministers disagree on whether they should ease England’s planning laws to build more onshore wind turbines as part of the government’s energy security strategy.

This will require an acceleration of drilling for oil and gas in the North Sea over the next few years, where expanded renewable energy – primarily offshore wind turbines – and nuclear energy will form the backbone of the country’s needs in the future.

The document will be launched by Mr Johnson on Thursday after being repeatedly delayed by Whitehall ranks over which technologies to approve and how the plan will be paid for.

This was stated by Minister of Trade Kwasi Kwarteng Sunday Telegraph it would be “physically impossible” to build more new nuclear power plants in the near future, but added: “If we move forward to 2050, there is a world where we have six or seven locations in the UK. That is not going to happen in the next two years. But it is certainly something we can strive for. “

Four nuclear facilities – in Essex, Somerset, Suffolk and Cumbria – are currently in active development, but all have been faced with questions about their costs and the necessary timeline before they become operational.

Some in the government are eager to put their trust in new technologies that use smaller modular reactors to produce electricity. These can in principle be located in places unsuitable for a full-scale nuclear power plant, but it is likely that they will instead be used to expand existing sites, which tend to be located in relatively sparsely populated places near the coast. .

Sir. Kwarteng said: “Basically it’s almost like a battery of smaller reactors. So Hinkley’s got two reactors and they’re at 3.2 gigawatts. These smaller reactors, you could see maybe 10 at the place where they each is maybe 300 megawatts. ”

The strategy is is not expected to include any change in fracking policy: practice is currently banned, although ministers say the moratorium can be lifted if new scientific evidence shows that it can be done safely and without disturbing local communities. A number of conservative backers have lobbied the government to change the rules immediately, but ministers are not convinced that fracking in the UK will significantly reduce fuel prices.

The Business Secretary is believed to support a move that would bring England’s planning rules in line with those in Scotland, where it is easier to build new wind farms on land.

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But other members of the government oppose any change to the current laws, and it is not yet clear whether planning will be included in the strategy.

The case is to include a major expansion of offshore wind, including a proposed floating wind farm in the Irish Sea, most of which is too deep for conventional wind turbines.

Sir. Kwarteng insisted on the long term shift away from fossil fuels fuels would lead to cheaper household bills, tweeting: “Expenditure on renewable energy is plummeting. Petrol prices are sky-high. Our energy security strategy next week will leave renewable energy and nuclear power, while supporting the North Sea’s oil and gas as we shift.”

He has previously said that an extension of land wind will be included, says I to “We need to have more energy dependence and I think renewable energy on land is definitely a part of it”.

But Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News: “I’m not in favor of a huge increase in onshore wind farms for pretty obvious reasons, they sit on the hills there and can create something of an eye-catcher for communities as well as problems in other ways.

“So I think for the sake of environmental protection, the way to go with this pretty much, not quite, is off sea.”

Pressed on whether that means the idea of ​​a “big increase in the number of onshore wind farms” is “effectively off the table for now”, he said: “I would urge you to wait for the energy strategy later in the week. But my thinking is, “What you really want to do is develop in other ways – nuclear, we want offshore wind. I do not think you want a huge expansion of onshore wind.”

Ed Miliband, Labour’s shadow minister for climate change, said: “Families across the country are paying more on their energy bills because of the government’s moratorium on onshore wind, the cheapest electricity available.

“Now it looks like the government is backing rumored plans to scrap the ban, all because of pressure from the same Tory backers who introduced it in the first place. Britain deserves better than the Conservatives, who are not “In order to act in the public interest. For our energy security, to cut bills and to tackle the climate crisis, we need a green energy sprint.”

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