The nuclear industry could create up to 40,000 jobs in the UK over the next 20 years, according to estimates by the Government as it launched a strategy for the sector today.
The Business Department said that globally there will be £930 billion invested in building new reactors and £250 billion in decommissioning those coming off line.
Ministers announced £15 million for companies and universities carrying out research into nuclear technology, £12.5 million for a reactor test programme being carried out in France, and changes to the National Nuclear Laboratory.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “There are huge global opportunities that the UK is well placed to take advantage of in the nuclear industry. Our strong research base will help develop exciting new technologies that can be commercialised here and then exported across the globe.
“The nuclear industry presents significant multibillion pound long-term opportunities for UK companies and for thousands of high value jobs. We have worked with industry on a plan for the future to ensure we are well placed to grasp those opportunities.
“We have some of the finest workers, research facilities and academics in the world. But we need to sharpen those competitive advantages to become a top table nuclear nation.”
Energy Secretary Edward Davey said: “Nuclear and other forms of low carbon power mean highly-skilled jobs, sustainable growth, and the lasting legacy of a UK supply chain.
“We need all our energy options in play in the fight against climate change, and to keep the lights on in a way that is affordable to consumers. Not just this decade, but to 2050 and beyond.”
Rhian Kelly of the CBI commented: “Nuclear will be a vital player in achieving a balanced low-carbon energy mix, and with commercial opportunities worth billions of pounds at home and overseas, it is a sector that can bring real economic benefits.
Nuclear energy 'could create 40,000 jobs', says Government