Oct 20, 2021

Mini nuclear reactors vie for key role in UK’s push to hit climate targets

This week that likelihood increased when the UK government named a site near where the old reactors are being decommissioned as a possible location for a new large-scale plant or the first place in the UK to host a new technology under development, known as small modular reactors. Rolls-Royce, the UK engineering group which is leading a consortium to produce a UK design, expects the first five SMR reactors to cost £2.2bn each, falling to £1.8bn for subsequent units. The government's decision this week to give nuclear a central role in its net zero emissions strategy has given fresh impetus to replacing Britain's existing reactors, which are all due to be retired by the end of 2035. The technology is similar to existing pressurised water reactors that are used in nuclear power plants today. At 470MW the plant would have a generating capacity similar to some of Britain's earliest reactors but would be about seven times less capable than the proposed next large-scale plant in the UK: Sizewell C on England's east coast.

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