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UKRI to fund new type of nuclear power station



UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has announced it will commit to an initial £18 million in match funding for the development of a new type of nuclear power station.

Rolls Royce lead the consortium that is developing plans for 16 small modular reactors
(Image via Rolls Royce)

The funding will go to a consortium of companies, led by Rolls Royce, for the preliminary designs of a standardised small modular reactor. The compact modules will be transported to existing nuclear sites and assembled inside a weatherproof canopy - streamlining the manufacturing process and cutting costs associated with weather disruptions.

The consortium hopes to have 16 small modular reactors in place by 2050, which they claim could create 40,000 jobs, add £52 billion to the UK economy and have an export value of £250 billion.

Each station will have a target cost of £1.8 billion (once five initial reactors have been built) and will be able to provide 440MW of electricity for 60 years.

“Tackling climate change requires collaboration across industries and governments to find effective, affordable and sustainable ways of achieving net zero by 2050,” said Paul Stein, Chief Technology Officer for Rolls Royce.

“The consortium’s work with the government shows that action is being taken to decarbonise our economy and meet our society’s vital and growing power needs. This is a very positive step forward to this next phase of the programme.”

Tranwsfynydd has been labelled a potential site for one of the first small reactors
(Image via Rolls Royce)

Other partners in the consortium include Assystem, BAM Nuttall, Laing O’Rourke, National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), Atkins, Wood, The Welding Institute (TWI) and Nuclear AMRC. The firms intend to match the investment put in by the UKRI.

One of the first to be developed is tipped to be Tranwsfynydd in North Wales, which has been called an “ideal location” following the decommissioning of existing reactors. It’s thought that construction could see 2,500 jobs created in the area at peak, plus 250 long term roles.

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Recent Comments
It's crazy for the Government to invest our taxes directly and through the UKRI, in this Rolls-Royce SMR, when the first of GE-Hitachi's BWRX-300 SMR will be operational on 2028, maybe 5 years in advance of the first R-R SMR. By the time the R-R SMR comes of age, The NOAK BWRX-300 will be on the market at a capital cost of $2000/kW [£468 million for a 300 MW nuclear power plant], which is over 60% lower, per MW, than the R-R SMR. 12 BWRX-300s, sited at Moorside [3.6 GW] would have a capital cost of £5.6 billion, compared to the original capital cost for NuScale's 3.4 GW of £15 billion. The BWRX-300 will wipe the floor with any other advanced nuclear power plant, of any size. It has a build programme of 2 years - just what the investment community crave - and may well become the workhorse-future of the nuclear power industry. 144 BWRX-300's, maybe sited at some 20 or 30 locations, could supply all 340 TWh of 24/7, low-carbon electricity the UK uses - for 60 years - at a cost of £68 billion. Nothing, but nothing, can guarantee 24/7, balanced electricity generation at such a low capital cost. It makes a mockery of the CCC's alphabet soup of net zero-carbon 'solutions'. Paul Stein needs to be knocking down the door at GE-H's HQ, to negotiate, on behalf of his consortium, the licensed manufacture in the UK of the BWRX-300. We have the expertise and the manufacturing capacity to export this breadwinner into western Europe, and maybe into eastern Europe, parts of Asia and Africa. It could be the rebirth of the UK as a truly modern manufacturing nation.
Colin Megson, 13 November 2019
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UKRI to fund new type of nuclear power station - Time to read 2 min
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