NUC0011

 

Written evidence submitted by Cavendish Nuclear

 

Responder Information

Introduction to Cavendish Nuclear

Cavendish Nuclear, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Babcock International Group (BIG), is the leading UK-owned supplier to the UK nuclear industry.

Cavendish Nuclear operates across the full lifecycle of the UK nuclear sector:

Our reason for submitting evidence is aligned to our strategic aims of supporting the UK nuclear new build programme as a major UK-based contractor and to contribute to the UK’s Energy Security Strategy and Net Zero 2050. As outlined above, we have established positions on large GW plant and we are extending our support into the AMR and SMR markets.

Response to questions

Q1

What role can, or should, nuclear power play in achieving net zero and UK energy security?

We believe nuclear power should play a key role in achieving net zero and UK energy security for the following reasons:

 

Q2

What are the main challenges to delivering the UK Government’s commitment to bring at least one large-scale nuclear project to final investment decision by the end of this Parliament?

We were delighted to see the Sizewell C Project application being granted development consent by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The most important challenge for Government now is to introduce legislation for a new nuclear financing model. Financing is the costliest part of new construction, so Government support would drive investor confidence and make it cheaper to fund and build new stations. It is essential that Government gets the funding model right in order to secure financial investment; we have seen projects fail through application of the wrong model – see response to Q3.

Q3

How important is the finance model to ensuring a successful nuclear project, and is the regulated asset base (RAB) model the best one to deliver this?

We believe the finance model is critical for ensuring a successful nuclear project. We have seen evidence of limitations of finance models leading to failed projects, such as Hitachi’s project at Wylfa Newydd in Wales and Toshiba’s at Moorside in Cumbria.

We believe the RAB model is the best model to deliver large scale single nuclear asset projects e.g. Sizewell C for the following reasons:

Q4

What practical steps can the UK Government take to support the nuclear industry in developing a range of nuclear technologies, including small modular reactors?

We take the question to refer to both Light Water Reactor Small Modular Reactors (LWR SMRs) and near term deployment Advanced Modular Reactors (AMRs) such as the Xe-100 which is being deployed on a commercial basis internationally on the same timescales as the first LWR SMRs.

An important first practical step is for UK Government to empower and clearly define the remit of the newly formed Great British Nuclear (GBN). Below are some overarching thoughts on the potential philosophy of GBN:

We welcome the creation by the Welsh Government of Cwmni Egino.  We consider that Cwmni Egino may play a positive role in bringing SMR/AMR deployment to Trawsfynydd, in particular in concert with the plans for decommissioning at Trawsfynydd. 

Deployment of nuclear capacity may be achieved through deployment of a comparatively small no. of large projects, a larger fleet of smaller projects (that may be swifter to execute and offer a more cost effective, flexible and efficient solution), or a combination of the two.  Recognising this we would request that UK Government support GBN to deliver the following specific objectives:

 

Q5

What would the likely cost be to the taxpayer of the UK Government supporting the development of a new nuclear power station at Wylfa?

There are three stages for the development of a new power station at Wylfa:

Q6

What is the potential economic impact for Wales of a new nuclear power station at Wylfa?

A new nuclear power station at Wylfa offers significant levelling up opportunities to the North Wales economy. Specifically development of Wylfa will generate:

 

August 2022