I continue to give my support to the Severn Edge sites at Oldbury and Berkeley as news was announced last week both locations are part of the Government’s Civil Nuclear Roadmap.
Both unfortunately lost out on the prototype nuclear fusion reactor last year but since then, the Severn Edge project - part of the Western Gateway - has been working hard to make the case that the nuclear potential of the site is undiminished.
I would like to thank the leader of Gloucestershire County Council and vice-chair of the gateway Mark Hawthorne for his work on this.
The Western Gateway team, councils and I worked so hard on the fusion project it is fantastic to see us build on what we achieved.
The roadmap indicates the Oldbury site can house the next generation of reactors called small modular reactors or SMRs.
The background to the newfound optimism is the Government’s commitment to the accelerated delivery of 24GW of new nuclear energy by 2050. Oldbury is ready-made with a history of generating nuclear power and the workforce and skills in place. It means we have a good chance of becoming a key part of this commitment.
At Berkeley we have the SGS College Science & Technology Park that has research and development space and labs alongside the brilliant college where the next generation of nuclear workers can be trained.
The government is committed to a renewed focus on our energy security following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
We must also work towards our net zero ambitions and nuclear has a crucial role to play.
There is a green technology and energy revolution coming. I will continue to work with the Severn Edge, ministers, the Western Gateway, local councils and business leaders to make sure we receive the nuclear investment here in Gloucestershire.
As many of you know, I am keen on Berkeley being a real draw for skills, clean energy training, apprenticeships and for this area to continue leading on things like expert precision engineering.