The consortium, led by Rolls-Royce, which is creating a compact nuclear power station known as a small modular reactor (SMR), has revealed its latest design and an increase in power as it completes its first phase on time and under budget.
It has also announced it is aiming to be the first design to be assessed by regulators in the second half of 2021 in the newly-opened assessment window, which will keep it on track to complete its first unit in the early 2030s and build up to 10 by 2035.
As the power station’s design has adjusted and improved during this latest phase – with more than 200 major engineering decisions made during this latest phase – the team has optimised the configuration, efficiency and performance criteria of the entire power station , which has increased its expected power capacity, without additional cost, from 440 megawatts (MW) to 470MW.
The refreshed design features a faceted aesthetic roof; an earth embankment surrounding the power station to integrate with the surrounding landscape; and a more compact building footprint, thanks to successes optimising the use of floor space.
With a focus on continuing its progress at pace, the UK SMR team is transitioning from being a collaborative consortium to a stand-alone business, which will deliver a UK fleet of power stations to become a low carbon energy bastion alongside renewables, while securing exports to make the power station a key part of the world’s decarbonisation toolkit.
The power station’s compact size makes it suitable for a variety of applications, helping decarbonise entire energy systems. Each power station can supply enough reliable low carbon power for around one million* homes, or be used to power net zero hydrogen and synthetic aviation fuel manufacturing facilities, desalination plants or energy intensive industrial sites.
Tom Samson, Chief Executive Officer of the UK SMR consortium, said: “Nuclear power is central to tackling climate change, securing economic recovery and strengthening energy security. To do this it must be affordable, reliable and investable and the way we manufacture and assemble our power station brings down its cost to be comparable with offshore wind at around £50 per megawatt-hour.”
In the UK alone the power station programme is forecast to:
- Create 40,000 regional UK jobs by 2050
- Generate £52 billion of economic benefit
- Have 80% of the plant’s components sourced from the UK
- Target an additional £250 billion of exports – memoranda of understanding are already in place with Estonia, Turkey and the Czech Republic
- Cost initially c.£2.2bn per unit dropping to £1.8bn by the time five have been completed
- Operate for at least 60 years
The design, which will be finalised at the end of the regulatory assessment process, proposes that all used fuel will be stored on each site for the lifetime of the plant.
Credit: Rolls Royce