THE UK’s Penultimate Power has agreed to form a joint venture with the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) to build a novel small modular reactor in the UK to provide power and process heat for heavy industry. The partners want to build a 10 MWe high-temperature gas-cooled nuclear reactor in the North East of England, replicating a design that has been running in Japan since 1998. Ian Fells, technical director at Penultimate Power and former consultant to the UK Atomic Energy Authority, said the venture is seeking approvals from authorities and he expects the £500m (US$651m) plant will be constructed within the coming 48 months. Plans include scaling up the technology to 100 MWe, and building a factory, preferably in Teesside, to construct the modular plants for use across the UK. Though Fells said a timeline for this has not yet been agreed. Fells says the technology could be used to fill the energy gap left as the UK shuts down dirty coal-fired power plants and as larger, traditional nuclear power plants reach the end of their working lives. Recent cancellations of large-scale nuclear projects in the UK led experts to warn of a looming energy crisis, and concerns the UK would have to return to burning more fossil fuels to provide baseload cover for intermittent renewables.
Chemical Engineer 20th Feb 2019 read more »