A consortium led by Rolls-Royce has crafted design plans for small-scale nuclear power plants. In a report anticipated to be released this week, the Rolls-Royce-led group is expected to receive approval to further develop its designs, which may eventually be implemented and constructed in the United Kingdom. The aforementioned report comes from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which, in its study, will formally end a competition held to determine which low-carbon energy sources should be most supported.
As highlighted in the report, nuclear power may be primed to experience something of a revival in Great Britain. A parallel Techno-Economic Assessment by the British government also concludes that designs for small nuclear reactors (SMRs), which are only a small fraction of the size of traditional nuclear reactors, will be among the most effective renewable energy technology in the UK. In doing this assessment, policymakers concluded that American designs for similar technology would not be as efficient to manufacture and maintain, and would not be commercially viable.
SMR development by Rolls-Royce and other companies will be partially funded by a £250m pledge by the UK government in 2015 to develop new nuclear-based energy technologies to help the United Kingdom meet its obligations under the Paris agreement. The report cited estimates that once SMR technology has been fully developed, it will deliver power at £60 per megawatt hour, versus £92.50 per megawatt hour at a giant conventional nuclear reactor. Although the stars appear to be aligning in the UK for a nuclear revival, Brexit may throw a wrench into the works by restricting the flow of skilled workers needed to develop and run these systems.
Via The Telegraph