Minister's visit to Dungeness power station prompts discussion over site's future nuclear potential
The government's nuclear minister Andrew Bowie paid a visit to Kent's Dungeness B power station, which could again become home to nuclear energy via so-called small modular reactors (SMRs).
In, 2021, after the station had been offline since 2018, EDF decided to move it to the next stage of its life, namely defueling, and its closure was announced on June 7, 2021.
Bowie was joined on the trip by representatives from Kent County Council (KCC), Folkestone and Hythe District Council, EDF and Damian Collins MP.
As well as seeing how the job of defueling the reactor was going, the group discussed the government’s backing for the next generation of nuclear technology, including its support of small modular reactors (SMRs) - these are factory-built plants, which can be built rapidly, thus producing power more quickly than larger sites.
Such SMRs could mean nuclear power generation could potentially continue in Dungeness.
On Tuesday (July 18) this week, energy security secretary Grant Shapps launched Great British Nuclear (GBN), an independent body designed to aid the delivery of new projects and help the government hit its ambition to provide up to a quarter of the UK’s electricity from homegrown nuclear energy by 2050.
Derek Murphy, Kent County Council cabinet member for economic development, said: "Dungeness has a long and proud heritage of nuclear power generation and an impeccable track record.
"As such, KCC believes Dungeness is a perfect location for one, or more, of the new breed of SMRs and could safely produce green, low carbon energy, while also retaining high-quality jobs and skills in the area, helping to power local growth.
"We will continue to work closely with Folkestone & Hythe District Council, EDF, and Central Government, assembling evidence to support and shape the campaign for the siting of SMRs at Dungeness," he added.
Cllr Jim Martin, leader of Folkestone and Hythe district council added: "We will explore any new technology initiative that has the potential to ensure that a significant number of well-paid jobs are created in the Romney Marsh area which will grow the local economy and provide new career opportunities for young people."