Letter Dr Carl Stephen Patrick Hunter CEO, Coltraco Ultrasonics: Small nuclear reactors are indeed “the future”. Since 1963 the Royal Navy Submarine Service has operated fleets of “small reactor” nuclear-powered boats, beginning with HMS Dreadnought, which on one voyage travelled more than 24,000 miles submerged. Since then the technology has developed and there is an opportunity for land-based use and “scaling up”. Smaller reactors can be placed at dispersed sites or in series to generate combined power equivalent to large reactors if required. A small reactor produces a smaller problem. Large reactors produce large problems and have done at Three Mile Island in 1979, Chernobyl in 1986 and Fukushima in 2011. Hinkley Point is a direct result of the decline of UK large nuclear design capability in which this country led the world up to the 1970s. A small reactor land-based design capability exists right now in the UK, at Rolls-Royce, and offers the opportunit y for the UK to generate the power that it requires, fulfil its environmental obligations, and export the technology.
Times 17th March 2016 read more »
The UK government has announced a competition to identify the “best value” small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) in the UK – paving the way for the country to build one of the world’s first SMRs. The government said in a policy statement, presented to parliament today by Chancellor George Osborne, that the competition will generate a list of SMR developers that could “deliver on the government’s objectives”. The government said it will also publish an SMR delivery roadmap later this year and will allocate at least £30m ($42m, €38m) for an “SMR-enabling advanced manufacturing R&D programme” to develop nuclear skills capacity. In November 2015 the government announced that the UK would double funding for the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s energy innovation programme to £500m over five years, which will help pay for an ambitious nuclear research programme that will revive the country’s nuclear expertise and help turn it into a leader in SMR technology. At the time Mr Osborne said the investment would strengthen future security of supply, reduce the costs of decarbonisation and boost industrial and research capabilities. In January 2016 Fluor Corporation’s NuScale unit, which is seeking to be a pioneer in the SMR market, said the UK’s ambitions to build SMRs could be realised as soon as 2025. Westinghouse Electric Company said earlier this month it is working with the UK’s Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre to explore the most effective way to manufacture Westinghouse SMR pressure vessels in the UK.
Nucnet 16th March 2016 read more »