Rolls Royce has made nuclear reactors for decades, small enough to fit inside nuclear submarines. It’s now adapting that expertise for the grid. Dan Yurman runs through the details of the firm’s plans, including a look at its first-of-a-kind 440MW technology. Regulatory timescales will be kept short by developing the small modular reactors (SMRs) at existing licensed nuclear sites – with Cumbria and Wales its main targets. Importantly, an innovative financing model is being promoted: the Regulated Asset Base (RAB). This will be crucial for keeping costs down as well as securing the first five clients that ensure economies of scale are reached. Financing failures are a main reason why only one new nuclear project has broken ground in the UK this decade despite a need to replace declining yields from North Sea Oil & Gas and to meet decarbonisation goals. It also explains why the UK’s leading business lobby, the CBI, is voicing support for SMRs and the RAB model.
Energy Post 20th Nov 2019 read more »