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Hundreds of jobs could be created on Teesside after a partnership was launched to build a new type of nuclear power station across the UK. Newcastle’s Penultimate Power UK is planning to use Japanese nuclear technology to develop a string of power stations up and down the UK, starting on Teesside. The company has signed a partnership with the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) – an agency of the Japanese Government – to replicate its nuclear technology in the UK, in a bid to help ease the UK’s energy crisis. Taking up around five acres, high-temperature gas-cooled (HTGC) reactors are small in size compared to conventional nuclear power stations. Many of their parts do not need to be built on site and instead can be produced in a central factory, which Penultimate Power hopes to build in Teesside. Penultimate – which has been launched by two energy experts – wants its first nuclear site to be in the area. Prof Ian Fells, emiritus professor of energy conversion at Newcastle University and a long-time and well-known advocate of nuclear energy, is technical director at Penultimate Power. He is joined at the company by Candida Whitmill, a former Government advisor on energy policy who has written widely on various energy sectors. Penultimate Power is aiming to fix the UK’s energy shortfall through the development of these small nuclear reactors. But as well as generating electricity for the National Grid, the reactors also produce “high grade heat” of up to 950ºC. This heat can then be used in the production of steel and hydrogen. The use of hydrogen fuel is becoming increasingly important as a way of powering heavy transport, such freight trains. The North East already produces more than half of the UK’s hydrogen, and last week it was revealed that two hydrogen refuelling stations are set to be built in Middlesbrough and Redcar. The deal has come just a few weeks after Japanese industrial giant Hitachi suspended work on a multi-billion-pound nuclear project at Anglesey because of rising costs. The announcement, which follows setbacks at other nuclear sites, has raised questions over the future of nuclear energy in the UK, as well as the country’s wider energy policy.

Teeside Gazette 12th Feb 2019 read more »

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Published: 12 February 2019