The government should press ahead with plans to develop small-scale nuclear technology, according to a new Policy Exchange report which argues nuclear power will be vital for achieving a fully decarbonised electricity grid. The paper, which will be released today and was supported by engineering giant Rolls Royce, argues a surge in electricity demand from electric vehicles (EVs), coupled with the need to phase gas and coal off the power grid, will leave a generation gap that is best solved with small modular nuclear technology. It suggests other alternatives such as battery storage would prove too expensive to roll out on the scale needed to meet mid-winter power demand, while sourcing extra power through European interconnectors will become increasingly difficult as their grids decarbonise. But analysis by consultancy Atkins for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, picked up by The Guardian, concluded energy from SMRs could cost more initially than large nuclear, because of the costs connected with developing new technologies and the loss of economies of scale. Meanwhile, SMR producers should start researching technology to allow nuclear plants to produce hydrogen, the report advised. Demand for hydrogen is likely to grow as it replaces natural gas on the heating grid and is potentially used to fuel cars and trains.
Business Green 25th Jan 2018 read more »
Small modular reactors (SMRs) could be “a crucial technology” in efforts to decarbonise the UK’s energy system, according to a report published today by the Policy Exchange. The report makes recommendations as to how government policy can lay the groundwork for their development and deployment. “Decarbonising our existing electricity system with 100% renewable energy would be possible, but unnecessarily expensive and perhaps unsustainalbe,” The Policy Exchange says in its new report, Small modular reactors: The next big thing in energy? “The intermittent nature of solar and wind would mean that large amounts of under-utilised backup capacity would be required at great expense to the consumer/taxpayer.” However, the reports says, “It is clear that in meeting our low-carbon energy needs that nuclear power should play a crucial role.” The Policy Exchange notes that in Western liberalised economies, “traditional nuclear power plants are not thriving”. Utilities are having problems financing new build projects while vendors are struggling to reduce costs and complete projects on schedule. “Small modular reactors could be a solution,” it says.
World Nuclear News 25th Jan 2018 read more »
Jenifer Baxter, the IMechE’s head of engineering policy, said SMRs could “secure the country’s future nuclear industry” after Brexit. “Pushing ahead with the commercialisation of SMRs would enable the UK energy and manufacturing sectors to collaborate creating a world-leading environment of new nuclear developments supporting low-carbon generation and the growth in interconnected engineering skills,” she said.
IMech 25th Jan 2018 read more »