Government has found it difficult to assess the merits of entries into its competition for small modular nuclear reactors. The government hopes to get its delayed nuclear research competition for small modular reactors (SMRs) “back on track” soon, energy minister Jesse Norman has told the House of Lords. In March last year, the now disbanded DECC (department for energy and climate change) launched a competition to identify the best value small modular reactor (SMR) design for the UK. Giving evidence on Tuesday to a House of Lords science and technology committee inquiry into priorities for nuclear research and technologies, energy and industry minister Jesse Norman admitted that the competition timetable had been derailed. Refusing to be drawn on whether the competition’s results would be would be released before Easter, Norman said that the backers of SMR projects needed to demonstrate that their designs were potentially marketable. In a bid to reassure the Lords committee about the UK’s nuclear safety and security framework once the UK had left Euratom, Norman said that there was a “great deal of thought within government on how to deal with issues of safety and safeguarding.” He said the government was treating the UK’s post-Euratom arrangements “extremely seriously” and that it was seeking to “maintain and even enhance” existing safeguards.
Utility Week 3rd March 2017 read more »