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Teesside University to Study Regional Benefits and Economic Impacts of Proposed Multi-billion Pound X-energy Advanced Modular Reactor Plant at Hartlepool

Posted on 22 May 2024

Teesside University to Study Regional Benefits and Economic Impacts of Proposed Multi-billion Pound X-energy Advanced Modular Reactor Plant at Hartlepool

Teesside University to Study Regional Benefits and Economic Impacts of Proposed Multi-billion Pound X-energy Advanced Modular Reactor Plant at Hartlepool

X-Energy UK Holdings, Ltd (“X-energy”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of X-Energy Reactor Company, LLC, and Cavendish Nuclear, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Babcock International, today announced they have commissioned Teesside University to undertake a study of the potential regional economic benefits of a multi-billion pound nuclear power station project in Hartlepool.

The assessment of the socio-economic opportunities – including jobs, skills, supply chain contracts, and investment - will be led by Professor Matthew Cotton, Professor of Public Policy, a leading expert in socio-political and ethical dimensions of sustainable development.

Early estimates indicate a 12-reactor multi-billion pound X-energy project at Hartlepool would directly employ hundreds of people in operations and a peak construction workforce of several thousand in addition to the employment benefits in the wider supply chain.

The work is part of a £6.68m programme funded by X-energy, and by the UK Government which awarded the firms £3.34m in April this year from the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero’s Future Nuclear Enabling Fund. X-energy is proposing to build its Xe-100 advanced modular reactor plant by the early 2030s, next to Hartlepool’s existing nuclear power station which is scheduled to close this decade.

Minister for Nuclear and Renewables, Andrew Bowie, said:

“Advanced modular reactors are the future of nuclear technology, with the ability to generate clean reliable power for homes and heat to decarbonise industry.

“New nuclear projects could provide jobs and investment for local communities across the UK, and we look forward to seeing the benefits of a potential new nuclear plant in Hartlepool.”

Carol Tansley, X-energy’s Vice President of Projects and UK market leader, said:

“Our nuclear power station project represents a fantastic economic and employment opportunity in addition to the vital contribution it makes to energy security and decarbonisation. We want to understand from the outset how best to help our potential host community and the surrounding area capitalise on the benefits it will bring”.

“Teesside University is ideally placed to help us. The team has huge experience of similar exercises in the past, and excellent links with the local community and business sector.”

Mick Gornall, MD of Cavendish Nuclear said:

“A regional economy which hosts a project like this can experience a rise in productivity and growth. Creating supply chains and other infrastructure in local and neighbouring areas can permanently enhance economic capacity. Beyond Hartlepool, we estimate a national fleet roll out of 40 Xe-100s could bring around £20bn of investment into the UK.”

Teesside University’s Professor Cotton has published works relating to new technologies, policies and practices in the fields of energy, climate change, waste management and public health.

He said: “A core principle of our research is to work with communities to address regional disparities and drive social impact for regions across the world. The proposed nuclear power plant at Hartlepool represents a massive capital investment in the Tees Valley and it is vital to understand what that impact will look like.

“By analysing how a project of this scope and scale will manifest itself, we will be able to determine the different socio-economic considerations, issues and risk factors for Hartlepool and surrounding regions.

In doing so, we will be able to determine the best course of action in order to take full advantage of the benefits and mitigate any impacts for the region.”

The multi-disciplinary study will utilise internationally renowned expertise from Teesside University International Business School and its School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law, in fields including public policy, economic regeneration, business and industry. It will include a review of available socio-economic data and engagement with local stakeholders including government officials, community leaders and sector experts.

The study will also examine national impacts, including contributions to meeting the UK Government’s net zero targets. This assessment, which will begin immediately and complete later this year, will include the additional benefits from industrial decarbonisation applications and the manufacture of other clean energy products like hydrogen and aviation fuel.

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