UK The First European Country To Invest In Nuclear Fuel

The UK has allocated £196 million to establish the first advanced nuclear fuel facility in Europe, making them the first to do so in the nuclear fuel market, to improve national energy security. This facility, which is said to be located in Capenhurst, Cheshire, will focus on producing high-assay low enriched uranium, or HALEU, which is what is needed for the powering modern nuclear reactors. The operation, set to begin by 2031, is expected to create approximately 400 jobs and position North-West England as a leader in nuclear technology.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak discussed the strategic importance of this move, stating, “Building our own uranium enrichment plant is essential for removing Putin’s influence from Europe’s energy market.”

Why Is This Project Important?


Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary, Claire Coutinho, discussed the initiative’s dual benefits: “Backing Urenco to build a uranium enrichment plant in the UK means we’re the first European nation outside Russia producing advanced nuclear fuel. This supports numerous new jobs, brings investment to Cheshire, and greatly enhances our national energy security.”

Urenco’s CEO, Boris Schucht, commented on the initiative’s impact: “This investment by the government will accelerate the development of a commercial market for HALEU, which in turn supports the development of new nuclear power plant technologies.”


What Will Happen Going Forward?


The establishment of this facility is a key component of the UK’s energy strategy, which intends to increase nuclear capacity by 2050. HALEU is necessary for new-generation nuclear reactors that are more efficient and adaptable, useful for both electricity generation and industrial heating.

Tom Greatrex, CEO of the Nuclear Industry Association, agrees with the government’s initiative. He said, “This investment allows the UK to supply advanced reactors globally, enhancing energy security for our allies and reducing reliance on Russian energy sources.”

This investment in nuclear technology speaks to the UK’s goals on achieving a net zero carbon economy, showcasing the role of advanced nuclear technology in the future energy industry.



Nuclear Technology Startups


There are a number of startups who are developing nuclear tech through their business operations and offerings. Here are 5 key startups to have a look at:


1. X-energy





X-energy advances nuclear technology through its development of the Xe-100, a Small Modular Reactor (SMR) that operates safely under passive conditions. Their TRISO-X fuel is designed to endure temperatures far exceeding those of conventional nuclear fuel, focusing on enhanced safety and efficiency. Recently, X-energy received a $148.5 million investment tax credit to establish a production facility for this innovative fuel, showing their role in promoting sustainable nuclear energy.





CORE POWER is innovating in the nuclear sector by integrating advanced nuclear technologies with shipyard construction to create Floating Nuclear Power Plants (FNPPs). Their method involves mass-producing entire nuclear facilities, aiming to drastically cut construction times and costs. Using the shipbuilding industry’s capability for large-scale, repetitive construction, CORE POWER’s strategy promotes scalable nuclear deployment, focusing on sustainable energy solutions for heavy industries and transportation.


3. Seaborg Technologies





Seaborg Technologies is transforming the nuclear industry with its Compact Molten Salt Reactor (CMSR), which uses a liquid salt mixture as both fuel and coolant, ensuring enhanced safety features. This innovative design allows the reactor to shut down automatically in emergencies, simplifying operations and reducing operational costs. Seaborg’s goal is to make nuclear energy sustainable and widely available, with a focus on minimal environmental impact and potential for economic benefits.


4. newcleo Group

Founded in 2021, newcleo Group is making strides in the nuclear sector by developing clean and sustainable energy solutions. With over €400 million in funding, newcleo’s dedicated team of 700 is working on integrating advanced reactor technologies to enhance safety and minimise nuclear waste. Their efforts focus on small modular reactors and lead-cooled fast reactors, aiming to bring a new generation of nuclear technology to the market by 2033. Their approach addresses long-standing industry issues such as safety and cost efficiency.


5. Cavendish Nuclear





Cavendish Nuclear is a leading organisation within the UK that focuses on decommissioning, supporting nuclear deterrence, and developing nuclear power capabilities. Their work supports the UK’s mission to achieve Net Zero emissions, focusing on the development and operational support of new nuclear projects. Cavendish Nuclear is noted for its extensive services, ranging from project development to specialist engineering. They maintain a large presence in the nuclear sector, employing a vast number of specialists and supporting a wide range of national and international projects.