13. Supply Chain and Skills Capacity
Agree. However, the UK government appears to be analyzing the situation with the assumption that today's technology will be used exclusively for new nuclear plants. This pedestrian approach will severely curtail the benefits of investing in nuclear power. It is well known that fast reactors can achieve one hundred times as much energy extraction, that supercooled transmission lines can transport power without losses, and that reactor operations can be totally automated. An aggressive research and development program is needed to make nuclear power a historically significant benefit. This kind of research is taking place in other countries, e.g. India and Japan. The advantages gained by the UK from its nuclear initiative will be second rate compared to these other centers if the UK continues with its half-hearted and hesitant approach.
The vigorous research and development program needed will have to be supported with extensive and in-depth education. To attract new students to these challenges the picture of nuclear power will have to be positive, financially attractive, and interesting. The moral component will have to be high, which will mean that the nuclear power solution will have to extend to international regions. World wide, the burning of coal, wood, and dung will have to be stopped as a result of the nuclear renaissance, so that new students will want to have a role in this nuclear solution.
The UK government constantly stresses that long lead times are needed to build a new nuclear plant. This does not have to be the case if several plants are built at once, all using the same design. The UK government seems to think that new plants will only be built serially, as independent, unique projects. This serial approach will not deliver the new energy needed in time. However, the shortages looming for personnel and supplies may force serial development. The UK government appears to be seriously underestimating the impact of these shortages.
The negative, inconsistent, and discouraging policies of the UK government concerning nuclear power are not helping. The UK government will have to start promoting the truth about nuclear power if it wants to attract the talent needed to realize its benefits. No one is going to sign up for work in the miserable, dangerous, dishonest, undependable, failure of an industry that the UK government currently pictures as its nuclear partner.