High Temperature Reactors

An advanced technology that uses nuclear energy to produce high temperature heat for industry could be an important tool in cutting carbon dioxide emissions worldwide, said experts at an IAEA roundtable discussion today. The technology, which is expected to be deployable in coming years, could add to low carbon energy sources for use for transportation and a number of industrial applications requiring high temperature heat. Unlike typical reactors, high temperature reactors are particularly suitable to generate high temperature process heat in addition to electricity. High temperature heat from advanced nuclear reactors may be able to have a direct role in climate change mitigation as an alternative energy source for industrial processes. Experts from China, Poland, Japan and the United States discussed the potential of utilizing this new technology.

IAEA 19th Sept 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 September 2017


Most Britons would not be happy living near the mini nuclear power stations that Rolls-Royce and several other international companies want to build in the UK, a survey has found. The government has promised the developers of small modular reactors a slice of a £250m funding pot in a race to position the UK as the place where the first generation of the power stations should be built. Polling by YouGov, however, believed to be the first survey of public attitudes towards the plants, found that 62% of people would be unhappy living within five miles of one. The poll, commissioned by the climate change charity 10:10, found that only 24% would be unhappy living near an onshore windfarm, which the Conservative party has stymied with tougher planning rules. The figure fell to 17% for community-owned windfarms. Ellie Roberts, a campaigner at 10:10, said: “These results show just how wildly out of step with public opinion UK energy policy has become.” Most small modular reactors (SMRs) would generate less than a tenth of the power the projected Hinkley Point C will provide, but are backed by industry as a cheaper option to big nuclear plants and an opportunity for British firms to be first in a new technology. Harry Holt, the president of nuclear at Rolls-Royce, said: “With demand for energy set to rise in the near future, in part due to the growing popularity of electric cars, we believe that a UK SMR programme is a vital addition to our national infrastructure.”

Guardian 18th Sept 2017 read more »

Posted: 18 September 2017


The Government looks set to give the green light to “mini” nuclear reactors in the coming months, in what will mark a welcome development after years of delays. Ministers said a policy decision over Britain’s nuclear strategy and development of “small modular reactors” will be made once it has conducted a further round of discussions with industry players. Names such as Rolls-Royce, NuScale, Hitachi and Westinghouse have been in talks with civil servants over the UK’s nuclear strategy for the past few weeks. The Government said it was now evaluating evidence over the commercial case for the reactors, including funding methods and the potential for export. “The greater the certainty vendors can provide on technical and commercial aspects of their designs, the more attractive an investment proposition it becomes and the more likely they will be to attract the necessary private sector investment,” the report said. Policy decisions over the mini nuclear reactors have faced lengthy delays, with the Government first signalling the technology had a role to play in securing energy supply and meeting climate change targets two years ago. Since then, very little progress appeared to have been made and, earlier this year, the House of Lords issued a report criticising the Government’s failure to publish the results of a competition for development funding, calling it “particularly alarming”. In response to this, in the report published on Friday, the Government said it had been holding meetings with the competition participants over the summer to discuss how to help facilitate development and deployment of the reactors. “We expect to be in a position to close the existing SMR competition shortly,” it added.

Telegraph 15th Sept 2017 read more »

Posted: 16 September 2017


MP Sue Hayman has said Cumbria can “lead the world” in a new nuclear technology. She has called on the Government to support the research and development of small modular reactors (SMRs). These are fission reactors which are smaller than conventional reactors, manufactured at a plant and brought to a site to be fully constructed. They are seen as a way for the UK to provide low-cost, low-carbon, locally-produced and reliable energy, which would help meet future electricity demands without the need to rely on imports. It as been predicted that the SMR industry could create 40,000 skilled jobs and bring in billions of pounds in investment. Mrs Hayman, the member for Workington, was speaking in her role as co-chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Nuclear Energy.

In Cumbria 14th Sept 2017 read more »

Posted: 15 September 2017


John Hutton: The UK has an enviable reputation for high quality, safe and reliable nuclear operations and this programme will bring huge benefits for nuclear skills recruitment, retention and development for both the UK’s existing and future civil and defence programmes. Main body of the report: One particular application for deployment of the talent developed through the UK SMR programme would be in the ongoing maintenance of the UK’s independent nuclear deterrent. Currently, the UK Government is required to invest funding to sustain the skills and capability necessary for the maintenance of the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarine programme. Recent decisions in Parliament have committed the UK to continue with independent deterrence for another generation, and therefore the need to maintain the relevant skills and capability remains paramount. The indigenous UK supply chain that supports defence nuclear programmes requires significant ongoing support to retain talent and develop and maintain capability between major programmes. Opportunities for the supply chain to invest in new capability are restricted by the limited size and scope of the defence nuclear programme. A UK SMR programme would increase the security, size and scope of opportunities for the UK supply chain significantly, enabling long-term sustainable investment in people, technology and capability.

Rolls Royce 12th Sept 2017 read more »

This morning Policy Exchange hosted an event about small modular reactors (SMRs) – the technology is derived from nuclear-powered submarine systems. A consortium led by Rolls Royce is pushing the idea of using new nuclear technology scaled down to a fraction of the size of older plant designs. The mini-plants would be made in factories to be re-assembled on site much more quickly and cheaply than large-scale projects like Hinkley. Rolls-Royce reckons the global export market could be worth as much as £400 billion for the made-in-Britain technology.

Guido Fawkes 12th Sept 2017 read more »

Policy Exchange are delighted to be hosting an event in our Westminster offices to discuss the challenges and opportunities in our future low carbon electric economy. Our distinguished panel of speakers is comprised of the Rt Hon Lord Howell of Guildford (former Secretary of State for Energy), Harry Holt (President of Rolls-Royce Nuclear), Dr Jenifer Baxter (Head of Energy and Environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers) and a leading British innovator and entrepreneur. The event will be chaired by Rachel Reeves MP (Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee).

Policy Exchange 12th Sept 2017 read more »

The UK government must give the country’s nuclear industry clarity on the potential development and deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs), Rolls-Royce and its partners in the UK SMR consortium said today. There is a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for Britain to design, manufacture and operate such reactors, they added. Rolls-Royce and its partners – including Amec Foster Wheeler, Arup, Laing O’Rourke, Nuclear AMRC and Nuvia – today released a report claiming a UK SMR program could create 40,000 skilled jobs, contribute £100 billion ($132 billion) to the economy and open up a potential £400 billion global export market.

World Nuclear News 12th Sept 2017 read more »

Posted: 13 September 2017


Small-scale nuclear projects could deliver electricity to Britain for a similar cost as offshore wind, Rolls-Royce said on Tuesday, providing another potential option for a country struggling to get big nuclear projects off the ground. Britain needs to invest in new capacity to replace ageing coal and nuclear plants that are due to close in the 2020s, but the costs involved have seen large nuclear projects delayed or run into trouble. Rolls-Royce, known best for making plane engines, said on Tuesday the small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) being developed by its consortium could deliver power at 60 pounds/MWh. SMRs use existing or new nuclear technology scaled down to a fraction of the size of larger plants and would be able to produce around a tenth of the electricity created by large-scale projects. The mini plants, still under development, would be made in factories, with parts small enough to be transported on trucks and barges where they could be assembled much more quickly than their large-scale counterparts. Rolls-Royce said the bulk of the components for its plants could be built in Britain and open up a potential 400 billion pound global export market.

Reuters 12th Sept 2017 read more »

Posted: 12 September 2017


A consortium developing small modular reactors is expected to urge the government to push forward with a plan to develop so-called baby reactors to secure the UK’s energy needs after the decommissioning of older nuclear power stations. The government launched a competition to find the best value SMR reactor design for the UK in 2016, and this week a consortium led by Rolls-Royce will publish a report in Westminster which claims it can generate electricity at £60 per megawatt hour, which is two-thirds the price of recent large-scale nuclear plants.

City AM 10th Sept 2017 read more »

Posted: 11 September 2017


Ministers are ready to approve the swift development of a fleet of “mini” reactors to help guard against electricity shortages, as older nuclear power stations are decommissioned. The new technology is expected to offer energy a third cheaper than giant conventional reactors such as the ongoing Hinkley Point in Somerset. Industry players including Rolls-Royce, NuScale, Hitachi and Westinghouse have held meetings in past weeks with civil servants about Britain’s nuclear strategy and development of “small modular reactors” (SMRs). A report to be published by Rolls-Royce in Westminster this week claims its consortium can generate electricity at a “strike price” – the guaranteed price producers can charge – of £60 per megawatt hour, two thirds that of recent large-scale nuclear plants. SMRs are a fraction of the size and cost of conventional plants and were earmarked for funding from the £250m pledged by the Government in 2015 to develop “innovative nuclear technologies”. It is hoped a fleet of these small reactors could be cheaply produced to guarantee Britain’s energy supply, with further ambitions for the technology to be exported worldwide. Whitehall sources confirmed that ¬officials from the Department for Business were whittling down proposals from consortia keen to work with government to develop SMRs, with an announcement on the final contenders for funding expected soon. The report to be published by Rolls-Royce, entitled “UK SMR: A National Endeavour”, which has been seen by The Telegraph, claims SMRs will be able to generate electricity significantly cheaper than conventional nuclear plants.

Telegraph 9th Sept 2017 read more »

Posted: 10 September 2017


US nuclear technology specialist NuScale Power has this week unveiled a new action plan, in an attempt to kickstart UK efforts to establish the country as a pioneer in the development of small modular reactors (SMRs). Last year the UK government launched a competition to accelerate the development of SMRs, amid predictions the technology could help cut greenhouse gas emissions and curb the cost of nuclear power. However, the promised £250m, five year R&D programme has been beset by delays and earlier this summer reports suggested a ‘crunch’ meeting was recently called between government officials and potential SMR developers over the competition. NuScale, which is backed by US engineering giant Fluor Corporation, this week sought to highlight the UK’s potential role as an SMR hub with the publication of an action plan detailing how it could deliver the technology by the 2020s. The five-point UK SMR Action Plan sets out how the firm would partner with UK industry to deliver a multi-billion pound SMR venture, which could see UK firms provide more than 85 per cent of the content required for UK reactors.

Business Green 8th Sept 2017 read more »

Posted: 9 September 2017

Molten Salt reactors

Irradiation tests on a mixture of lithium and thorium fluoride salts are under way at the High Flux Reactor at Petten in the Netherlands. The results will yield new data on the safe operation of molten salt reactors (MSRs). Molten salt reactors use fuel dissolved in a molten fluoride or chloride salt. As an MSR fuel salt is a liquid, it functions as both the fuel (producing the heat) and the coolant (transporting the heat away and ultimately to the power plant). This means that such a reactor could not suffer from a loss of coolant leading to a meltdown. The basic technology is not new – it was first demonstrated at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the 1960s, where a 7.4 MWt test reactor, the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE), operated from 1965 to 1969.

World Nuclear News 6th Sept 2017 read more »

Posted: 8 September 2017