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World Nuclear Lobby bewails Britain’s lack of progress on Small Modular Nuclear reactors (SMRs)

UK nuclear’s future in government hands, say reports, World Nuclear News, 2 May 17Two UK parliamentary committees have published separate reports – one related to research and development, the other concerning Brexit – that both call on the government to take action to ensure the future competitiveness of the country’s nuclear industry.

According to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, “We have reached a critical moment for the future of the United Kingdom as a serious nuclear nation.” It continues, “The undoubted potential of the civil nuclear sector has been blighted by the indecision of successive governments.”…..

SMR competition

The government’s failure to make a decision on its strategy for small modular reactors (SMRs) “is a prime example of its inaction in the civil nuclear arena”, the report says. “Not keeping to the stated timetable for the SMR competition 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.”

Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) chief executive Tom Greatrex said the industry shares the committee’s “frustration” with the SMR competition. “With a potential global market for SMRs valued at £250-£400 billion ($323-$517 billion), the government must provide clarity as soon as possible after the general election if the energy, industrial and export opportunities of a UK SMR are to be realised.”

Tom Mundy, NuScale Power’s chief commercial officer and managing director for the company in the UK and Europe, also said a “clear direction” on SMRs from the government is needed. “We therefore welcome the committee’s call for the government’s SMR strategy to be published, setting out what the next steps will be to make SMRs a reality for the UK.”

Committee chairman, John Roundell Palmer, said: “We also found that the amount of UK funding for nuclear research, development and innovation is much lower than public funding levels in other leading nuclear nations, including the US, France and Japan. If the government’s aim is for the UK to be active across the main areas of nuclear R&D it needs to make significant investments in new technologies or we risk falling behind the rest of the world.”

Brexit

The committee also said the nuclear industry faces risks if the UK’s membership of European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) expires at the end of the two-year negotiating period without a replacement. It warned, “The UK risks losing its lead in fusion research as well as losing access to the markets and skills it needs to construct new nuclear power plants and existing power plants could be unable to acquire fuel.”…….http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NP-UK-nuclear-industrys-future-in-government-hands-say-reports-0205174.html

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May 3, 2017 - Posted by | technology, UK

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