Boris Johnson ‘backs nuclear reactors by 2050’ after truck driver shortage sparks fuel panic

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BORIS Johnson has reportedly backed the construction of a new generation of nuclear reactors by 2050 after the shortage of truck drivers sparked a fuel panic.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is expected to approve funding from Rolls-Royce to create a fleet of mini-reactors as ministers adopt a “shift in focus” towards nuclear power.

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The nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point C nuclear power station near Bridgwater, SomersetCredit: PA
Boris Johnson reportedly backed plans to build a new set of nuclear reactors by 2050

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Boris Johnson reportedly backed plans to build a new set of nuclear reactors by 2050Credit: AFP

Rolls-Royce estimates that plans to install at least 16 factories could create 40,000 jobs by 2050, reports the Times.

The company will be the first developer of “small modular reactors” to submit its designs to regulators.

The Prime Minister considers the transition to nuclear energy essential to the government’s plans to meet its net zero targets by 2050 and its upgrade program.

It comes after hundreds of motorists blocked the roads after fears of a fuel shortage due to a lack of truck delivery drivers sparked panic buying in Britain.

Even the Treasury, which had been seen as an obstacle to new nuclear projects amid rising costs, reportedly decided that more nuclear power was needed.

And on Friday, Rishi Sunak made it clear he believes nuclear facilities should play a bigger role in Britain’s future energy plans.

A source close to Sunak told The Times: “His general opinion is that we should have done this 10 years ago, when it was cheaper, but we can’t rely on wind and solar power.

Downing Street said nuclear power was “very much on the agenda”.

“We don’t really have an option. We have to move if we are to reach net zero and ensure energy security,” a spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, Sir Dave Lewis, the former Tesco boss, is spearheading a £ 16million bid to help tackle Britain’s energy crisis.

The plan foresees the construction of a solar and wind farm in Morocco which would be connected to the United Kingdom.

Sir Dave, 56, is calling for government support for the program – which could provide seven million homes by the end of the decade.

Xlinks is the start-up behind the proposed project, and said it could deliver “reliable power” for more than 20 hours a day to meet 8% of the UK’s electricity needs.

‘BREAKTHROUGH’

Sir Dave described the project as a “breakthrough”.

“It is very much in line with Boris Johnson’s energy strategy,” he said, reports The Times.

“It’s renewable, but they’re cheaper, more reliable renewables, so what’s not to like?

“But it will require the government to take a leadership role and engage in an innovative project, because it has never seen one like this before.”

The Morocco-United Kingdom power project will be powered by a huge wind and solar farm in the Moroccan region of Guelmim Oued Noun.

Wind speed at the site increases in the late afternoon and evening, ensuring that electricity can be supplied to Brits during peak demand periods.

Four cables, each 3,800 km long, will link Morocco to the United Kingdom, passing through Spain, Portugal and France.

The company’s website states, “The project will reap the benefits of Morocco’s long hours of sunshine as well as the consistency of its convective trade winds, to provide a firm but flexible source of zero-carbon electricity.

BAN BY CHINA

In other developments, Chinese investments in the next generation of UK nuclear power plants are expected to be banned for security reasons – leaving a huge funding hole in the plans.

Ministers will formally ban any further involvement of China’s General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) in the £ 20 billion Sizewell C nuclear power project, the Mail on Sunday reports.

And it is understood that the Treasury is considering using pension funds to fill the project funding gap in Suffolk.

A source told the newspaper: “The Chinese will not be involved in Sizewell. It is part of a long journey and is politically much more important than a single factory.

Police drivers martial at gas stations as forecourts blocked after shortage sparks panic buying


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