Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum

UK inquiry into SMRs
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Author:  camiel [ Mar 10, 2014 4:41 am ]
Post subject:  UK inquiry into SMRs

The British Department of Energy and Climate Change has announced an inquiry into small nuclear power. A parliamentary select committee is inviting responses on this issue. I think this could be interesting for the Weinberg Foundation, Flibe Energy, Terrestrial Energy, Transatomic, etc. to outline their views on the issue.

The deadline for submissions is April 16th, 2014. For more information: ... ear-power/

Author:  alexterrell [ Nov 28, 2015 11:38 am ]
Post subject:  UK £250 million for SMRs

Surprisingly no one has reported on this, so here is what I received from the Office for Nuclear Development last week:

‘…the Spending Review and Autumn Statement invests at least £250 million over the next 5 years in an ambitious nuclear research and development programme that will revive the UK’s nuclear expertise and position the UK as a global leader in innovative nuclear technologies. This will include a competition to identify the best value small modular reactor design for the UK. This will pave the way towards building one of the world’s first small modular reactors in the UK in the 2020s. Detailed plans for the competition will be brought forward early next year.’
The full Spending Review document can be found here. As the statement suggests, we are working on the details of the competition and will provide further information in due course.

"SMRs" include lots of modular designs up to 250MWe. Clearly there will be some mini pressure cookers in the mix from Westinghouse and NuScale, as well as sodium cooled offerings from Terra Power. But DECC is now up to speed on MSRs and their benefits, and is in the process of a consultancy engagement to find out more.

In theory, £250 million could cover the entire cost of a 250MWe nuclear island prototype for whichever is the "best value small modular reactor design for the UK".

The spending announcement came a day after the Guardian article, which was the first non-hostile article on nuclear power that they've published (aside from Monbiot's articles).

Author:  alexterrell [ Dec 14, 2015 11:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: UK £250 million for SMRs

Neutron bytes take on it the SMRs:

The UK seeks to become the world’s center for export of factory built small modular nuclear reactors, but first customers have the place orders for them. The US needs to catch up if it wants to be competitive.

The article is really focused on small modular PWRs. It still remains to be seen whether the UK is going to stick with PWRs, or whether they'd prefer MSRs or Sodium cooled reactors. I assume Rolls Royce will have a PWR contender, along with NuScale and Westinghouse.

At 311MW, PRISM could perhaps sneak into the competition. Molten Salt Reactors are also viewed positively so might have a chance. Likewise, it's not clear whether they'll want Fast or Thermal.

Perhaps the main benefit for the competition winner might be a entry into the GDA process. Any reactor with a GDA, and a reasonable price tag (i.e. a lot less than the EPR), will have no trouble finding customers.

Author:  alexterrell [ Jan 09, 2016 6:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: UK £250 million for SMRs

OK, I'm putting this here as it will relate to the UK funding: ... pdates.htm

The Q3 GDA quarterly update is released. Somewhat late. Some points:
Westinghouse is working to re-baseline the overall programme, with the objective of enabling regulators to make decisions about issuing a Design Acceptance Confirmation (DAC) and Statement of Design Acceptance Confirmation (SoDA) in January 2017, as per the current programme.

As part of our governance, we undertook a gateway review to consider the regulators’ and Hitachi-GE’s readiness to move to ONR’s Step 4. The review concluded that sufficient progress had been made by Hitachi-GE, and that the regulators had the resources available to progress to Step 4.

Hualong Reactor:
The agreement expects that a Chinese designed reactor will be submitted for GDA in 2016. The regulators are planning to begin this GDA in 2016 when requested by Government.

So a GDA slot is available in 2016 - and taken by a Chinese PWR. With AP1000 finishing in Jan 2017, could there be another slot in 2017 or 2018, reserved for the winner of the SMR competition? This is perhaps the real prize for the competition, not just the >£100million.

With their recent funding announcement, could Terrestrial be the only MSR to enter the competition?

Author:  jagdish [ Jan 16, 2016 4:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: UK £250 million for SMRs

They could best have MSR for SMR! If they use existing generating equipment of gas cooled reactors as standard, they could really cut costs. Perhaps they could replace AGR with MSR in existing power plants!

Author:  E Ireland [ Jan 28, 2016 3:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: UK £250 million for SMRs

They were supposed to - but the steam heating gear had numerous reliability issues so the Alfas ended up having to run their reactors at low power whilst tied up.

It really ate into their service lives.

Author:  alexterrell [ Mar 16, 2016 12:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: UK £250 million for SMRs

Just received this. Not confidential, but not covered in the press yet:
Today, the Chancellor of the Exchequer launched the first phase of a competition to identify the best value Small Modular Reactor (SMR) design for the UK.

The announcement also included:
• The government’s intention to publish an SMR Delivery Roadmap later this year.
• The allocation of £30m for an SMR-enabling advanced manufacturing research and development programme to develop skills capacity.

More details on the competition and competition documents will be published by 13.00 on Thursday 17 March.

Author:  johnlaurie [ Mar 19, 2016 9:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: UK £250 million for SMRs

Small Modular Reactors competition: phase one

Author:  jagdish [ Mar 24, 2016 3:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: UK £250 million for SMRs

In this competitive environment, low cost could be a winner. They are dealing with the costliest power plant construction in the world, costing more than 5000 pounds a kW. They have agreed to a high power cost but the builders are in financial trouble and can't finance it.
An organic oil cooled and moderated MSR would keep pressures and costs in check. FNaBe salt solvent for fuel could keep costs low. They have stocks of RG plutonium to burn. It would best be as Th-Pu fluoride reactor fuel. The organic coolant could generate the steam for power.

Author:  JDVF [ Mar 24, 2016 11:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: UK £250 million for SMRs

Which of the MSR companies have put themselves forward for participation in the UK £250M contest ???

If none, we will be left with a choice between pressure cookers !!!

Author:  alexterrell [ Mar 30, 2016 5:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: UK £250 million for SMRs

JDVF wrote:
Which of the MSR companies have put themselves forward for participation in the UK £250M contest ???

If none, we will be left with a choice between pressure cookers !!!

Good question. I suspect that Terrestrial and Moltex will be putting themselves forward, along with Terra Power and PRISM in the liquid metal cooled area. (Those in the know aeren't saying).

The leading pressure cookers are Westinghouse and NuScale, who's designs are probably sufficiently advanced for a GDA entry.

A sensible approach for DECC would be to award something to a PWR - as a conservative design we know will work and can be built - and an earlier stage award to a MSR or Sodium cooled design - perhaps enough to build a full scale non-nuclear prototype.

The other criteria will be - to the maximum extent possible under EU and competition law - who is prepared to do the most value add in the UK.

Author:  alexterrell [ Jun 07, 2016 5:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: UK £250 million for SMRs

The initial selection is done. It seems the list has only been cut down to 33, so that must still leave a lot of no-hopers. ... r-reactors

Not many names mentioned, but Terrestrial Energy is the only MSR player mentioned - so well done there.
An industry source said that the SMR scheme won't be a "short process".

I assume there will be another down selection, and then there could be funding for more than one winner.

I've heard some thoughts that the winner would have to be ready to enter GDA in 2018/2019 time frame, which is going to favour Westinghouse, NuScale and Prism. (Prism is also tied in with the UK's plutonium disposal strategy, which is being decided with as much as urgency as a Hinkley C decision).

Author:  alexterrell [ Jun 15, 2016 5:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: UK £250 million for SMRs

Andy Dawson has put together a list of some of the likely contenders and technologies here, mainly focusing on the PWR concepts.

Author:  Kirk Sorensen [ Dec 07, 2017 3:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: UK inquiry into SMRs

Policy paper: Advanced Nuclear Technologies

Published 7 December 2017

Government is providing up to £7 million of funding to regulators to build the capability and capacity needed to assess and license small and novel reactor designs, as announced in the Clean Growth Strategy. This funding will also provide support for pre-licensing engagement between vendors and regulators.

Government is providing funding to support Generation IV advanced reactors through a two-stage Advanced Modular Reactor Programme. Up to £4 million in Stage 1 will support around 8 reactor vendors to carry out detailed technical and commercial feasibility studies. Subject to Stage 1 demonstrating clear value for money through a formal re-approval process with the Treasury, up to £40 million of further funding could then support 3-4 vendors to accelerate the development of their designs. Up to a further £5 million may also be made available to regulators to support this.

The AMR Programme is being administered by Innovate UK. More information can be found on the Innovate UK website.

Government is also setting up an Expert Finance Group to advise how small and advanced reactor projects could raise investment in the UK. By bringing together nuclear and financial sector expertise we anticipate that this group will help demonstrate the commercial proposition of small reactors in the emerging nuclear market. The group will be asked to report in the Spring.

Author:  Kirk Sorensen [ Jul 23, 2018 1:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: UK inquiry into SMRs

Rolls-Royce threatens to end 'mini-nuke' project for lack of support

Rolls-Royce is preparing to shut down its project to develop small nuclear reactors if the government does not make a long-term commitment to the technology, including financial support, in the coming months. The UK aero-engine maker has scaled back investment significantly, from several millions to simply paying for "a handful of salaries", said Warren East, Rolls-Royce chief executive, in an interview with the Financial Times. "Obviously, we would love to keep the project alive so we will do it as cleanly as we possibly can ... shutting down as much of the activity as we can shut down without killing the capability," he said. However, David Orr, executive vice-president of Rolls-Royce's small modular reactors programme, said that without comfort from the government on two fronts the project "will not fly. We are coming to crunch time." Rolls-Royce wants its technology to be chosen as the first to apply for a licence when a slot is made available later this year. It also wants the government to provide financial support, initially of about £20m, to take the technology through the early stages of the licensing process. This would be match-funded by the consortium, which includes companies such as Laing O'Rouke and Arup. Rolls-Royce is one of several consortia to have bid in a government-sponsored competition launched in 2015 to find the most viable technology for a new generation of small nuclear power plants. However, when a nuclear sector deal was finally unveiled last month, the government allocated funding only for more advanced modular reactors (AMRs). SMR's, which typically use water-cooled reactors similar to existing nuclear power stations, were omitted from specific funding even though they are closer to becoming commercial. This has frustrated those putting forward SMR bids. Rolls-Royce has argued that developing its technology should be regarded as a "national endeavour" to develop nuclear skills that can be used to create an export led industry. Senior executives have argued the government could make a commitment along the lines of that made last week on Britain's combat air capability, where it agreed an investment timetable with industry and set out its long-term ambitions for the sector. Tom Mundy, chief commercial officer of NuScale Power, said the US company was looking for "a suite of initiatives" from government that would "help SMRs become commercial". "The future for SMRs in the UK is not just about vendors like NuScale, it's about the totality of the SMR vision. It's ultimately about the customer base — the power companies that want to buy and deploy the technology," he said. "And importantly it's about government and investors providing tangible support and backing for a long-term vision for SMR development and deployment," he added. There are signs that the government is looking for ways to keep Rolls-Royce and others on board. It is expected at the end of this month to begin a series of statements about mini-nuclear power stations, said Mr Orr, including the announcement of a slot for one technology to apply for licensing. But Mr East questioned whether the government had the capacity to push forward on a project that has already been delayed by several years. "Brexit overshadows everything at the moment," he said. A spokesperson for the business department said: "This is a commercial matter. The government is committed to SMRs through its landmark Nuclear Sector Deal and modern Industrial Strategy."

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