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Advanced Nuclear Technologies (otherwise known as small nuclear or small reactor technologies) encompass a wide range of nuclear reactor technologies under development. The technologies share common attributes:
- smaller than conventional nuclear power station reactors
- designed so that much of the plant can be fabricated in a factory environment and transported to site, reducing construction risk and making them less capital-intensive.
Generally advanced nuclear technologies fall into one of 2 groups:
- Generation III water-cooled Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), similar to existing nuclear power station reactors but on a smaller scale
- Generation IV and beyond Advanced Modular Reactors (AMRs), which use novel cooling systems or fuels to offer new functionality (such as industrial process heat) and potentially a step change reduction in costs
There is a large variety of potential technologies within these groups which span technology types from conventional water-cooled reactors, to Generation IV reactors using novel fuels and coolants, as well as fusion reactor concepts. Given this breadth, government believes that “SMR”, as commonly understood, is too narrow a description for technologies coming forward after the current generation of nuclear power stations. Instead government considers this to be the “Advanced Nuclear” market.
The advanced nuclear sector has the potential to play an important part in the UK’s Industrial Strategy building on our existing economic strengths and competitive advantages in nuclear whilst shaping new advanced nuclear markets and contributing to tackling the Clean Growth Grand Challenge.
5 November 2019: Advanced Nuclear Programme grant awards
Government has confirmed the outcome of previously announced Nuclear Innovation Programme and Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund advanced nuclear initiatives, including:
The Low-Cost Nuclear Challenge
£18 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to create a £36 million joint investment with the private sector.
The Low-Cost Nuclear Challenge, proposed by a consortium led by Rolls-Royce, aims to develop a Small Modular Reactor designed and manufactured in the UK capable of producing cost effective electricity. An initial £36 million joint public and private investment will enable the consortium to further develop their design. This is part of a greater bid into the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund worth around £500 million (joint investment with the private sector), subject to future approvals and a final decision to make public investment. The consortium believes that a UK Small Modular Reactor programme can support up to 40,000 jobs at its peak with each Small Modular Reactor capable of powering 750,000 homes.
Advanced Manufacturing and Materials
Up to £16 million research and development grants have been awarded to help demonstrate advanced manufacturing and construction techniques. For further information visit Nuclear Innovation Programme: Advanced Manufacturing and Materials.
Advanced Nuclear Fuel Cycle Programme
Further to Phase 1 of the Nuclear Innovation Programme, in August 2019 BEIS and the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) agreed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the NNL to administer the Advanced Nuclear Fuel Cycle theme of the Nuclear Innovation Programme over the next 2 years.
29 October 2019: New guidance on the modernised Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process
The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Environment Agency (EA) recently published new guidance for applicants seeking Generic Design Assessment for new nuclear designs:
- ONR: New GDA guidance for Requesting Parties
- EA: New nuclear power plants: Generic Design Assessment guidance for Requesting Parties
22 July 2019: Energy update
On 22 July 2019 Greg Clark announced an energy update, which included a Regulated Asset Base model consultation for financing nuclear new build, funding for advanced nuclear technologies and an update on modernisation of guidance for developers in respect of Generic Design Assessment.
The announcement included the acceptance by government of the Low Cost Nuclear Challenge into Wave 3 of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.
Read the press release: Innovative funding models and technologies to drive investment in new wave of low carbon energy.
The 10th Clean Energy Ministerial: Vancouver, 27-29 May 2019
The Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) is a global forum that brings together energy ministers from 24 participating countries to discuss efforts to drive the transformation to clean, decarbonised energy systems.
At this year’s Ministerial, nuclear energy was featured through the Nuclear Innovation: Clean Energy Future (NICE Future) initiative, which the UK joined in 2018. The Advanced Nuclear Technologies framework for policy makers was launched at the event.
Advanced Nuclear Technology Framework
The UK has consistently been a world leader in nuclear technology and has been at the forefront of many new developments. We have a wealth of expertise and experience both in our national laboratories, Catapults and research centres, and in the wider UK nuclear industry and supply chain.
This has contributed both to the economic prosperity and security of the nation, and to the wider international community. Nuclear technology continues to develop rapidly, with significant programmes of research in new build and decommissioning across the global industry.
To ensure that the UK is leading this innovation, we intend to build on recent announcements and set out a clear direction for advanced nuclear technologies in the UK.
The framework, which continues to be developed, supports advanced nuclear technologies and challenges the industry to bring forward technically and commercially viable propositions that could be developed with private finance.
The framework comprises the following elements:
- financing (including the work of the Expert Finance Working Group)
- the AMR R&D programme
- regulatory readiness
- supply chain development
- land access and siting
Register for the GDA process for small reactors
If you would like to submit an expression of interest in registering for the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process for small reactors, please email email@example.com with this information:
- name of Requesting Party (RP)
- year in which you would like to take part in GDA
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy of the slides from the GDA Policy workshop held on 26 November 2018.
Commercialisation of Small Nuclear in the UK, 5-6 November 2018
BEIS hosted the first-ever government-led small and advanced modular reactor event, dedicated to bringing together key voices from across sectors to explore the commercialisation of small nuclear in the UK. The event also announced the Advanced Manufacturing and Construction programme and government’s intent to open the GDA process for applications. View slides and pictures from the event.
UK 4th Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) Nuclear Energy Summit, 30 October 2018
Daniel Mathers, BEIS Head of Technical – Advanced Nuclear Technologies, presented at the CEE Nuclear Energy Summit on the latest advanced nuclear technology policy and on R&D in relation to advanced manufacturing for civil nuclear in the UK. The CEE Nuclear Energy Summit, led by the Department for International Trade (DIT), showcased the latest opportunities in 7 markets across Central and Eastern Europe and Finland.
View the presentation slides:
BECBC Business Support Group (BSG) Showcase, 3 October 2018
Richard Deakin, BEIS Head of Innovation – Advanced Nuclear Technologies, presented at Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster BSG Showcase on the Nuclear Sector Deal and the national and global opportunities presented by small modular reactors.
IAEA General Conference 2018 Side-Event: UK Challenges & Opportunities of Modular Reactors, 19 September 2018
The UK hosted a side event at the IAEA General Conference that focused on sharing the UK experience with policy makers, regulators and industry regarding financing, manufacturing and regulatory challenges and opportunities related to modular reactors. This event was chaired by Robin Grimes.