There is growing UK and international interest in using ‘small modular nuclear reactors’ (SMRs) to generate electricity, and the UK Government announced a number of measures to support SMR development in the 2018 Nuclear Sector Deal. Stakeholders suggest that, compared with conventional nuclear reactors, SMRs could offer cost savings to operators and consumers, more flexible energy production and a greater choice of potential sites. This note examines key aspects of SMR technology, their economics and regulation.
Parliament 18th July 2018 read more »
New funding measures for advanced reactor research and manufacturing will help the UK retain and grow its nuclear expertise and signals support for a widening range of SMR applications, industry experts told Nuclear Energy Insider. The UK nuclear industry has broadly welcomed the UK government’s new 200 million-pound ($263.8-million) Nuclear Sector Deal which aims to cut the cost of nuclear power and bolster the UK skills base. The deal, announced June 27, includes 56 million pounds towards the development and licensing of advanced modular reactor designs—already set by the government last December– and 32 million pounds towards advanced manufacturing research. In addition, the UK and Welsh governments will jointly invest $40 million in new thermal hydraulics testing. The development funding will initially allocate a total 4 million pounds to eight non-light water reactor (non-LWR) vendors, to perform detailed technical and commercial feasibility studies. The eight vendors are: • Advanced Reactor Concepts • DBD • LeadCold • Moltex Energy • Tokamak Energy • U-Battery Developments • Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation • Westinghouse Electric Company UK. In April 2019, three or four of these companies will be selected to receive a total of 40 million to accelerate the development of the design over two years. UK nuclear regulators will receive 5 million pounds to support this process and a further 7 million pounds to build regulatory resources to assess and license new designs. The latest funding announcements could, for now, prevent an exodus of UK expertise to other countries supporting SMR development. Several advanced reactor developers are simultaneously pursuing SMR programs in North America, where government support programs are larger. In addition to baseload supply, SMR developers are targeting applications such as renewable energy load following, industrial power and heat, district heating, and hydrogen production.
Nuclear Energy Insider 18th July 2018 read more »
The US Department of Energy (US DOE) has selected GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) to lead an advanced nuclear technology development project for BWRX-300. The project will bring together Exelon Generation, Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy (HGNE), Bechtel and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). As part of the project, the team will identify various methods to simplify the reactor design, reduce plant construction costs, and minimise operations and maintenance costs for the GEH BWRX-300, a 300 MWe small modular reactor.
Power Technology 18th July 2018 read more »