Government proposes support for UK SMR

The government is proposing to invest up to £18 million in the UK SMR consortium led by Rolls-Royce.

The consortium proposes a joint investment between industry and government of more than £500 million to support the design a first-of-a-kind small modular reactor (SMR) power station.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark confirmed that the consortium’s proposal has been accepted into the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. An initial award could be made in early autumn, subject to final decisions to invest.

The UK SMR consortium comprises Rolls-Royce, Assystem, SNC Lavalin, Wood, Arup, Laing O’Rourke, BAM Nuttall, Siemens, the National Nuclear Laboratory and the Nuclear AMRC.

Rolls-Royce welcomed the announcement, and noted that the government funding will be matched by contributions from the consortium and third party investors.

The initial investment will be used to mature the design, address the considerable manufacturing technology requirements and progress the regulatory licensing process. The consortium says that the funding will also give companies in the UK supply chain the confidence they need to plan investments in capability.

The consortium aims to have a first SMR operational in the early 2030s, around five to six years after the completion of the licensing process.

As set out in last year’s Nuclear Sector Deal, the government is also investing up to £40 million through the advanced modular reactor (AMR) programme, and is currently considering project bids. Up to £5 million will also be provided to the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency to build readiness for SMRs and AMRs.

The government also announced the launch of a consultation on the Regulated Asset Base approach to support future investment in new nuclear power. Already used in major infrastructure projects such as the Thames Tideway Tunnel, the RAB model could reduce the cost of financing infrastructure and risk for developers while limiting the long-term impact on consumers’ bills.

South Korea decommissioning showcase

13–14 August, Ulsan, South Korea.

The Nuclear AMRC is leading a delegation of UK nuclear suppliers to meet key organisations in the South Korean decommissioning sector.

With 25 reactors producing a third of electricity, South Korea has long been a leader in nuclear energy. But with its first commercial reactor – Kori-1 – shutting down in 2017, South Korea is preparing to enter a new era of nuclear decommissioning.

Kori-1

With a wealth of decommissioning experience at home, the UK has the opportunity to support South Korea with its decommissioning and international new-build programmes. UK-Korean collaboration could be crucial to helping South Korea achieve its decommissioning goals in a safe and economic manner, and UK companies with experience in domestic decommissioning are well placed to help.

UK organisations and companies participating in the event include:

The UK delegates will meet with South Korean government officials and representatives from key nuclear companies such as Kepco and KHNP, and visit the Kori 1 plant.

For more information, contact Jounghwan Lee at AMRC Korea.

Engineering & Technology Solutions Exhibition

25 September 2019, Birchwood Nuclear Hub.

The UK’s biggest independent nuclear suppliers’ exhibition returns to Birchwood Park, the heart of the North-West nuclear cluster.

The Engineering & Technology Solutions Exhibition will feature exhibitors from along the nuclear supply chain, plus technology demonstrations, knowledge-sharing and technical presentations, and networking opportunities.

The event is organised by Nu-Tech Exhibitions & Events, with support from the Nuclear AMRC, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Nuclear Institute, Nuclear Industry Association, National Skills Academy for Nuclear, and TWI.

 

Last year’s event was attended by more than 500 nuclear professionals, with  75 exhibitors from along the supply chain.

For more information, go to: www.nuclearexhibitions.com/BirchwoodEvent

  • Nu-Tech is also hosting a nuclear exhibition at Westinghouse Springfields, Preston, on 11 September. For more information, contact: sales@nu-techassoc.co.uk

Nuclear AMRC hosts showcase for UK innovation

The Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre has hosted its first major conference, to share the latest nuclear industry innovations with companies from across the UK.

The Nuclear Innovation UK conference took place at Sheffield’s historic Cutlers’ Hall over 2–3 July 2019, with around 275 delegates from across the UK and from international organisations.

Organised by the Nuclear AMRC – part of the UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult – in collaboration with the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) and industry partners, the conference focused on research supported by the government-funded Nuclear Innovation Programme.

The Nuclear Innovation Programme is the UK’s first public investment in future nuclear fission for a generation. Closely linked to the Nuclear Sector Deal launched in June 2018, the programme funds research into advanced manufacturing and materials and supports the development of new designs of advanced reactor.

Andrew Storer, Chief Executive Officer of the Nuclear AMRC, says: “With the UK committing to zero net carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, nuclear power must play a major role in our national energy mix. We need to bring new designs of advanced nuclear power plant to the grid within the next 20 years, and the Nuclear Innovation Programme is developing the enabling solutions that will bring these new technologies to market.

“We are delighted to host this conference in Sheffield, and to welcome engineers and researchers from across the UK and beyond to discover the latest in world-leading nuclear innovation. More than ever, we need to innovate and to bring innovations together.”

Guest speakers at the conference included Dr Tim Stone, Chair of the Nuclear Industry Association; Allan Cook, Chair of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult; Professor Ian Chapman, Chief Executive of the UK Atomic Energy Authority; Adriènne Kelbie, Chief Executive of the Office for Nuclear Regulation; plus leading figures from the Nuclear AMRC, NNL, and Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

The conference included a series of technical presentations covering research projects from all areas of the Nuclear Innovation Programme: advanced manufacturing and materials; advanced fuels and recycling; and reactor design and engineering.

The Nuclear AMRC is leading two of the advanced manufacturing projects, to develop new tools and techniques which could help halve the production time and cost for pressure vessels and other large components for new reactors.

The Simple project (Single Manufacturing Platform Environment) aims to integrate a range of machining, fabrication and inspection operations onto a single manufacturing platform. Doing more on one machine will reduce the need to move large components between work areas, helping ensure accuracy and quality control throughout the manufacturing process. The 18-month first phase has involved Nuclear AMRC engineers working with a host of academic and industrial partners to develop intelligent welding and inspection tools.

The Inform project (Intelligent Fixtures for Optimised and Radical Manufacture) is meanwhile addressing a series of challenges in forming, machining and assembling large components. The Nuclear AMRC is working with leading industry and research partners including Sheffield Forgemasters and Rotherham-based MetLase.

Conference delegates had the opportunity to visit the Nuclear AMRC’s research factory on the Advanced Manufacturing Park to see the Simple and Inform technologies in action.

The Nuclear AMRC has also worked with partners on other projects funded by the Nuclear Innovation Programme, including the Fit For Modules project led by Cammell Laird to develop fundamental systems for modular design; research into advanced joining technologies led by Frazer-Nash Consultancy; and the Mattear project (Materials and Manufacturing Technology Evaluation for Advanced Reactors) led by Wood.

For a detailed report from the conference, download the special edition of Nuclear AMRC News (Q3 2019).