Energy crisis

Johnson to place ‘big bets’ on nuclear power

Boris Johnson: ‘we must take bold steps’

Boris Johnson is meeting nuclear industry leaders today to consider speeding up domestic projects.

The Ukraine war has focused the Prime Minister’s attention on ensuring the UK reduces its dependency on overseas energy sources and is telling party colleagues that he wants to place “big bets on nuclear power”.

He has shown interest in small modular reactors such as those being developed by Rolls-Royce which are cheaper and easier to install than big projects.

Downing Street said attendees at a roundtable meeting will discuss how government and industry can work together to remove barriers to delivering more nuclear plants.

Mr Johnson also told the party’s spring event in Blackpool that he planned to “make better use of our own naturally occurring hydrocarbons”.

Nuclear power has provided about 16% of the UK’s energy demands via the National Grid over the past year.

Mr Johnson said: “We must take the bold steps necessary to end our dependence on Putin’s oil and gas. And that’s what we are doing…it is time to take back control of our energy supplies.”

Energy minister Greg Hands has urged the Scottish Government to rethink its policy towards nuclear power. It is already known to be considering a softening of its stance in order to back plans for a fusion plant in Ayrshire.

Labour supports building more nuclear energy facilities, with shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves calling for ministers to “get on with the investment in new nuclear” as well as green energy.

Separately, exchequer secretary Helen Whately will chair a forum with oil and gas lenders to discuss North Sea oil and gas investment conditions

She will meet lenders to oil and gas companies operating in the UK and confirm the Government’s “commitment to domestic offshore oil and gas production”. This is unlikely to extend to support for fracking.

Mr Johnson will also speak to chief executives from the wind sector.

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