Britain taking the lead developing a new generation of mini-nuclear reactors could create 40,000 highly skilled jobs in the UK and generate hundreds of billions in export sales. The claim comes from Rolls-Royce, which is heading a consortium competing in the Government’s £250m competition to develop “small modular reactors” (SMRs). Expected to cover about 10 football fields – about a 10th of the size of a conventional nuclear power station – the Government believes these mini-nuclear power plants could be vital in securing Britain’s future energy supply, as well meeting climate change targets. Rolls – whose nuclear pedigree comes from its more than 50 years building power plants for the Navy’s submarines – is heading a consortium of about a dozen companies vying to be selected to develop the technology. Harry Holt, head of Rolls-Royce’s nuclear business, said: “The ‘Britishness’ of our proposal is very strong – we’re talking about high-value intellectual property being created here and the UK content is very high. This is not a case of British companies doing low-value work such as pouring the concrete for the building work.” Other contenders in the competition include America’s NuScale Power, France’s EDF, and the Chinese nuclear company CNNC. The consortium believes that it will cost £1.2bn to develop SMR technology fully and a further£1.7bn to get the first SMR running. Costs are then forecast to fall as more are built, with the modular design meaning that the system is built in “chunks” in factories, then assembled on-site. This means they will be quicker to build than conventional “bespoke” designs such as Hinkley, as well as cheaper as they are being mass-produced by comparison. Their lower price-tag will also make them easier to finance. News of how the Government has decided to move forward with the competition could come as early as this month’s Autumn Statement.
Telegraph 7th Nov 2016 read more »
The Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) is calling for the UK government to work with industry to ensure the industrial strategy has energy infrastructure front and centre, in its submission ahead of the UK Autumn budget statement, due on 23 November. Following the confirmation that the first new nuclear power station in a generation will be built at Hinkley Point C, the NIA is highlighting the industrial, economic and export potential that can come from a focus on low carbon nuclear power to replace retiring power stations, reduce emissions and improve energy security. The NIA believes combining business, energy and industrial strategy is a good start, but strategy policy now needs to focus on providing the framework for the UK’s industrial base to maximise the opportunities to drive jobs, growth and exports in low carbon energy infrastructure, including interest in small modular reactors. Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive, Nuclear Industry Association, said: “There is a huge opportunity for the UK supply chain to help deliver vital new low carbon nuclear infrastructure with the right industrial strategy and policy framework. The Government’s interest in industrial strategy is welcome, and the new department bringing together industrial strategy with energy policy, is a positive step. “Providing clarity that will build confidence is what the Government must ensure as the UK begins to adjust to working outside the EU. An industrial strategy that recognises both the importance of infrastructure that will support communities and businesses into the future, and the significant economic benefit that can come to the UK from associated jobs, growth and manufacturing output.“The burgeoning international interest in the development of small modular reactors provides not only an additional option for managing the transition to a low carbon power supply, but could also be an important export opportunity for the UK, developing a supply chain, intellectual property and high quality, skilled jobs.
Scottish Energy News 7th Nov 2016 read more »
The Government’s strategy on nuclear power must not stop with giving the go-ahead for the new site at Hinkley, ministers are being urged. The Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) said attention should now switch to the next line of mew build developers. In a submission ahead of the forthcoming Autumn Statement, the NIA said there was huge potential from replacing retiring power stations with low carbon nuclear power. Chief executive Tom Greatrex said: “The burgeoning international interest in the development of small modular reactors provides not only an additional option for managing the transition to a low carbon power supply, but could also be an important export opportunity for the UK, developing a supply chain, intellectual property and high quality, skilled jobs.
Belfast Telegraph 7th Nov 2016 read more »