The nuclear industry has committed to a 30 per cent cut in the cost of building new plants by 2030 under the sector deal which the government unveiled today (28 June).

As part of the £200 million deal, one of a number being rolled out with different sectors of the economy as part of the government’s industrial strategy, the nuclear industry has committed to reducing costs via a combination of better economies of scale and adoption of advanced production techniques.

The sector has also committed to a 20 per cent cut in decommissioning costs over the same timeframe.

Investment proposed in the deal includes up to £44 million for research and development funding to support the development of advanced modular reactors.

The deal document highlights the emerging findings of the government commissioned Expert Finance Working Group’s analysis of small modular reactors, due to report later in the summer, that the UK is well placed to develop the pioneering small reactor projects.

According to the deal, the government will bring together investors, utilities and developers to discuss finance packages to support them. And it says the government is “actively” looking at sites where the new breed of small reactors could be located.

A new partnership with the Welsh government to develop a £40 million thermal hydraulics facility in North Wales as part of an innovation programme to support the design and development of advanced nuclear technologies, was also announced in the deal.

In a further boost for the nuclear sector, the government has pledged £86 million to develop research into nuclear fusion technology at the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s Science Centre at Culham in Oxfordshire.

Responding to the publication of the sector deal, Nuclear Industry Association chairman, Lord Hutton, said: “The industry wants nuclear energy to remain competitive against other forms of low-carbon energy – which is why we are committed to working with government to reduce costs across the sector.

“Today’s funding boost will support this common goal; increasing the UK’s industrial capabilities as well as signalling our global leadership in nuclear to the rest of the world.

Paul Westbury, technical director of construction company Laing O’Rourke Group, said: “We encourage the industry to fully embrace the deal and to move quickly to find safer, better value for money solutions through enhanced productivity and modern methods of construction to secure our energy future.”

The deal follows an announcement earlier this month by business secretary Greg Clark that the government has entered into negotiations with Hitachi over its plans for a new nuclear plant at Wylfa Newydd on the Isle of Anglesey.