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Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) just not happening in Britain

Alarm sounded over delays to develop UK mini nuclear reactors Lords scold government for lack of progress on small modular reactors plan, warning UK nuclear sector will suffer if firms walk away, Guardian, Adam Vaughan, 2 May 17, The government’s failure to deliver on a multimillion-pound competition to develop mini atomic power stations has hurt the nuclear sector and risks international companies walking away from the UK, a Lords committee has warned.

In 2015 the then chancellor George Osborne promised £250m over five years for a nuclear research and development programme, an undisclosed sum of which was for a competition to pave the way for small modular reactors.

These reactors are much smaller than conventional nuclear plants with a capacity of less than 300MW – or a 10th of what Hinkley Point C should provide.

But the government has failed to even publish results of the first phase of the competition, expected last autumn, which the Lords science and technology committee said was “particularly alarming”.

“This has had a negative effect on the nuclear sector in the UK and if the government does not act soon the necessary high level of industrial interest will not be maintained,” they said in a report on Tuesday.

The peers urged ministers to publish their plans for small modular reactors (SMRs) without delay, and scolded the government for not showing any urgency to make a decision…….

Newcastle-based Penultimate Power UK, which hopes to capitalise on the market, told the committee that a lack of clarity from government had paralysed development of nuclear power generation technology…….

Government officials said earlier this year that one of the attractions of mini nuclear power stations was they fitted with the industrial strategy launched by Theresa May. But Tom Wintle, deputy director at the business department, said they had to provide affordable power.

“SMRs will need to deliver energy cost-competitively if they are to play a part in the UK’s future energy mix. As well as securing low-carbon energy, government is also committed to keeping down the cost of that energy for consumers, so there is a key challenge there for the nuclear industry as a whole and for SMRs,” he told an industry conference. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/may/02/alarm-sounded-over-delays-to-develop-uk-mini-nuclear-reactors

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May 3, 2017 - Posted by | technology, UK

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