Boris Johnson 'Backing Construction of Fleet of Mini Nuclear Reactors' as UK Gripped by Fuel Crisis
05:47 GMT 26.09.2021 (Updated: 21:38 GMT 18.10.2022)
The situation with petrol supplies is deteriorating in parts of the UK as the government reportedly mulls easing visa rules to attract at least 5,000 foreign truckers to resolve the shortage of lorry drivers in Britain.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is supporting the construction of a new generation of nuclear reactors by 2050 amid fuel panic caused by a shortage of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers in the country, The Sunday Times reports.
The newspaper claims that Cabinet ministers have greenlighted a so-called “change of focus” towards nuclear power, which Johnson perceives as essential to the government’s goal of achieving its net zero targets by 2050.
According to the news outlet, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is set to approve funding for the British luxury automobile maker Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited to create a fleet of mini nuclear reactors in the UK.
Rolls-Royce reportedly sees the project to install at least 16 nuclear power plants as something that may create 40,000 jobs by 2050 in the Midlands, the north of England, and elsewhere.
25 September 2021, 06:33 GMT
The Sunday Times also cited an unnamed source as saying that Chancellor Rishi Sunak thinks nuclear facilities should play a more significant role in Britain's energy plans in the immediate future.
“His [Sunak’s] general view is that we should have been doing this 10 years ago, when it was cheaper, but we can't rely on wind and solar power”, the source claimed.
This was echoed by a Downing Street spokesperson who underscored that nuclear power was “very much on the [government’s] agenda”, and that the government needs “to get moving if we're going to hit net zero and ensure energy security”.
The government’s reported push for building advanced nuclear reactors comes amid panic buying across the UK, where hundreds of motorists blocked roads after the oil and gas giant BP announced that it had closed scores of its petrol stations in the country due to a shortage of lorry drivers. The UK’s Road Haulage Association estimated that Britain is short of about 100,000 HGV drivers licensed to operate trucks.
British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps promised that the government would "move heaven and earth" to resolve the shortage, caused by delays in training and testing due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Financial Times, the government of Boris Johnson is eyeing an option of giving temporary visas to 5,000 foreign workers in a bid to tackle the HGV driver shortage.
In mid-November 2020, BoJo unveiled the government's plan to implement a "green industrial revolution" in the UK, stressing that his "ten-point plan will create, support, and protect hundreds of thousands of green jobs, whilst making strides towards net zero by 2050".
Johnson argued that Britain's green revolution "will be powered by the wind turbines of Scotland and the North East, propelled by the electric vehicles made in the Midlands, and advanced by the latest technologies developed in Wales" so that the country can "look ahead to a more prosperous, greener future".