In a speech to the UK Nuclear Industry Association on 2 December, Greg Hands, minister of state for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, said 'excellent progress' had been made on the UK’s commitment to achieve demonstration of an Advanced Modular Reactor by the early 2030s with the backing of the £385 million Advanced Nuclear Fund.

“This summer, we published a Call for Evidence to gather views on the government’s preference to support High Temperature Gas Reactors for the AMR Research, Development & Demonstration Programme,” he said. “Following evaluation of responses received, I’m pleased to announce today that we will focus on the High Temperature Gas Reactor design as the technology choice for the Programme moving forward — with the ambition for this to lead to a demonstration by the early 2030s.”

Mr Hands said the UK continued to support the development of all AMRs, as part of wider activities, including the new Nuclear Bill setting out the Regulated Asset Base model to encourage private investment into nuclear projects. “To support further investment in nuclear projects, we’re also consulting on classifying nuclear as ‘green investment’ in the UK Taxonomy, which would allow billions to flow into the sector.” He said the government “aims to reach a Final Investment Decision this Parliament on at least one more large-scale project”, noting “we announced up to £1.7 billion in the Spending Review to help deliver this objective and have been in constructive negotiations on the Sizewell C project since January”.

He noted that the government had also invested £210 million — matched by the company — for Rolls-Royce to develop its design for one of the world’s first SMRs.