The announcement of renewed interest in building a nuclear power station in West Cumbria has caused a flurry of excitement about the prospect of new jobs and economic prosperity for the area. The Moorside Consortium, made up of French energy firm EDF and a number of partners, has announced it hopes to build two EPR-type nuclear reactors in West Cumbria, which would form part of the Moorside Clean Energy Hub on land adjacent to Sellafield. It is also hoped the hub will attract the development of small modular reactors, such as those being worked on by the UK SMR Consortium led by Rolls-Royce. However, these would only be some of the potential reactors on site, with the vision also incorporating the development of high temperature gas cooled reactors, which can be used to generate heat and steam for domestic and industrial purposes, or to make fuels such as hydrogen or synthetic aviation fuel. Professor Francis Livens, director of the University of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute – which has a facility on the Westlakes Science Park – says the reactors work in the same way as nuclear reactors that are used in power stations, but reach a much higher temperature. For example, the reactors at Hinkley Point C, in Somerset, may reach somewhere around 350 degrees centigrade to generate steam to turn turbines and produce electricity. “The engineering of that reactor really limits you to about 350 degrees centigrade,” said Francis. “By high temperature nuclear you are usually talking about temperatures of 600 as a minimum or 700 or 800, possibly even hotter.
Carlisle News & Star 25th Aug 2020 read more »