Six companies have been selected to advance to the next phase of the small modular reactor (SMR) competition for innovative nuclear technologies in the UK. This competition is part of the government’s plan to revive nuclear energy and establish the country as a global leader in developing cutting-edge technologies for cleaner and cheaper energy.
The chosen companies are EDF, GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy International LLC, Holtec Britain Limited, NuScale Power, Rolls Royce SMR, and Westinghouse Electric Company UK Limited. These companies have been deemed capable of delivering operational SMRs by the mid-2030s, making them ideal candidates for government support.
Unlike traditional nuclear reactors that are constructed on-siteSMRs are smaller and can be manufactured in factories. This approach has the potential to revolutionize power plant construction by making it faster and more cost-effective.
The government aims to announce which of these six companies it will support in spring 2024, with contracts awarded before summer 2024. This timeline makes this competition one of the fastest of its kind globally.
It is worth adding that to supporting SMRs, the UK government is also investing in large-scale projects like Sizewell C. These initiatives aim to rapidly expand nuclear energy production while delivering cleaner and safer energy for British households and businesses. They also create well-paid jobs and stimulate economic growth.
The government’s long-term goal is for up to a quarter of all UK electricity to come from nuclear power by 2050. By selecting reliable technologies through this competition, they hope to make a final investment decision in 2029 and have operational SMRs by the mid-2030s.
According to Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho, these small modular reactors will play a crucial role in boosting nuclear energy capacity in the UK while providing cheaper and cleaner energy. It will also consolidate the country’s position as a world leader in nuclear innovation.
Nuclear Energy and Networks Minister Andrew Bowie highlights the collaborative nature of this program, where the government works hand-in-hand with industry to foster economic growth and establish the future of nuclear technologies. He believes that today’s announcement is a significant step towards achieving net-zero emissions ambitions.
Gwen Parry-Jones, chief executive of Great British Nuclear, emphasizes the importance of prioritizing reliable and sustainable energy. She states that today’s announcement brings them closer to their goal of boosting nuclear energy in the country while providing a secure supply to the grid.
While these six companies have progressed to the next stage of the competition, there will be future opportunities for other nuclear technologies through government consultations later this year. The aim is to explore alternative routes for commercialization and ensure that Britain can benefit from newer technologies as well.
The UK government’s commitment to advancing nuclear technology demonstrates its dedication to energy security and meeting climate change goals. With SMRs potentially transforming power plant construction and generating billions in investment, it is an exciting time for the nuclear industry in Britain.
According to a news, this competition marks a significant milestone in the development of innovative nuclear technologies in the UK. It positions the country at the forefront of global efforts to advance cleaner and more efficient energy solutions.