Nuclear power expansion plans create new divide between Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak



New divisions have emerged between No. 10 and the Treasury Boris Johnson‘s requirement to invest in a larger expansion of new ones nuclear energy, I understand.

The Prime Minister is eager to increase the number of smaller nuclear reactors in the UK to help the country become more self-sufficient in its energy needs.

He is holding a round table meeting with leaders from the nuclear industry on Monday to discuss how the government can accelerate the expansion of the sector, which currently accounts for 15 per cent of Britain’s energy supply.

Participants will discuss how the government can “remove barriers” and develop future projects “faster and cheaper”.

It comes as Mr Johnson is set to announce his energy strategy, which will set out how Britain will meet its own energy requirements, but the plans have been hit by delays.

It told a Whitehall source I that the prime minister’s “ambition is limited by cash” when it comes to new nuclear power.

The Ministry of Finance denied that there was any split between No. 10 and No. 11 on energy strategy, and a source close to Mr Sunak told I: “The Chancellor has worked with the Minister of Trade and the Prime Minister … We have already invested over £ 2 billion in nuclear power and are working together to see what we can do more.”

“We have already invested over £ 2 billion in nuclear power and are working together to see what we can do more.”

Last week, Mr Johnson insisted it was time to “make a series of major new investments in nuclear power”, labeling Labour’s 1997 decision to invest in more nuclear reactors as a “historic mistake”.

The prime minister has tried to roll the ball in favor of increased investment in nuclear power in an attempt to ward off opposition to the plans from certain corners of the conservatives.

Lord Goldsmith, the Secretary of State, has previously described nuclear power as “the most expensive form of energy in energy history”.

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The Tory comrade and close friend of Mr. Johnson also criticized Tory Party chairman Oliver Dowden after he called for “less net zero dogma” from the government.

Kwasi Kwarteng, the business minister, has pushed for a faster expansion of new nuclear power and earlier this month ordered British regulators to assess Rolls-Royce design for mini-nuclear power plantscalled small modular reactors.

Ministers are expected to hold further talks with Finance Minister Helen Whately, who is to chair a forum to discuss North Sea oil and gas investment conditions in an attempt to “emphasize the government’s commitment to domestic offshore oil and gas production”.

Johnson will also hold talks with senior executives in the wind energy sector in the coming days.

A No. 10 spokeswoman said Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine showed the need for Britain to “strengthen our energy security and have greater energy dependence”, insisting that the government was united on the plans.

“The whole government is working hard to consider how we can improve our domestic energy security. All options are on the table. This also includes increasing domestic production of renewable energy, nuclear power and other sources – because they will all play a crucial role in to achieve our ambitions for people, businesses and the whole of the UK, “the spokeswoman said.

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