Nuclear plans are a huge boost for Gloucestershire

Ian Mean
Director of Business West Gloucestershire | Business West
14th March 2024

I believe Gloucestershire’s economy stands to get a great boost with the government’s Budget announcement to buy the former nuclear site at Oldbury.

The impact of the purchase from Hitachi will almost certainly enhance the development at  Berkeley Green-the other former nuclear site just over four miles away.

The government Budget announcement had not been expected, and I understand that the £160 million deal by Great British Nuclear, was completed in just a few weeks.

The land purchase from Hitachi also includes the former Wylfa nuclear site on Anglesey.

I believe that up to 2,000 people could well be employed at Oldbury and Berkeley in the future.

And major blue-chip companies could now be attracted to set up at Berkeley Green, which is in the process of being sold by South Gloucestershire and Stroud College to the Chiltern Vital Group(CVG).

Taken together, the Great British Nuclear plan to buy Oldbury from Hitachi and the CVG intention to purchase Berkeley, are I believe, very significant steps towards the Western Gateway’s Severn Edge Vision to create a low carbon energy hub for the UK.

I think that the purchase of the Oldbury site could lead the way to it housing some of the new SMRs-small nuclear power reactors.

Oldbury, I understand, could house at least two of these SMRs.

The big question, of course, is who will win the government bid to build these new SMRs?

I would hope that Rolls-Royce, as a great British technology company, would win.

So, I think it is significant that Rolls-Royce SMR is part of the CVG  consortium planning to purchase the Berkeley Green site from South Gloucestershire & Stroud College.

As part of the sale, the college will retain its learning facility at Berkeley Green where they teach young engineers for the local economy.

It’s a great facility.

That could now be supercharged to ensure the siting of these new SMRs in Gloucestershire will encourage more young people to go into engineering.

There are many pieces in this complex nuclear puzzle but it feels to me we are making headway on the journey to make it all fit.

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