£3.3m funding to boost next generation of homegrown nuclear tech
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Six projects to develop advanced modular reactors in the UK have each been offered up to half-a-million pounds in funding by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
Funding announced on 31 August will support early-stage innovation for six winning advanced modular reactor projects in a bid to attract private investment and support the creation of new jobs.
A total of £3.3 million funding through the Advanced Modular Reactor Research, Development and Demonstration (AMR RD&D) programme – part of the £385 million Advanced Nuclear Fund – will support the development of technologies such as high temperature gas reactors.
“This investment will help unlock the potential for new nuclear reactors in the UK, as we drive forward plans to boost clean, cutting-edge, homegrown technologies for our energy security, while driving down bills in the long term,” energy minister Greg Hands said.
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Approximately £2.5 million will fund six UK-based advanced modular reactor projects. These harness novel and innovative fuels, coolants, and technologies to generate low-carbon, high-temperature heat that could be used for hydrogen production, process heat for industrial and domestic use, and generate electricity.
Funding for this programme was split into two lots. The first, for projects developing advanced modular high temperature gas reactor technologies, saw up to £500,000 available for each project. Lot two, for projects developing coated particle fuel for said technologies, saw up to £250,000 available per winner.
The winning projects are:
- U-Battery Developments, based in Slough, will receive £499,845 to fund a study determining the optimum size, type, cost, and delivery method for a U-Battery – an advanced, small modular reactor capable of providing a low carbon, cost effective, locally embedded and reliable source of power and heat for energy intensive industries and remote locations – suitable for demonstration in the UK.
- EDF Energy Nuclear Generation in Gloucester and Hartlepool is being backed to the tune of £499,737 for work focusing on end-user requirements to determine the design characteristics most suitable for a high temperature gas reactor demonstration in the 2030s. EDF is proposing The Hartlepool Heat Hub as a host site for what’s claimed will be a UK-first.
- Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation in St Helens has been allocated £498,312 for a project building upon its existing micro modular reactor design as a foundation to develop and demonstrate a modified design best suited to UK industry’s current and projected future process heat demands. This includes a demonstration of hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuel production.
- National Nuclear Laboratory in Cheshire will receive £497,495 for a project coordinating a UK-Japan coalition – featuring the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Jacobs and the National Nuclear Laboratory – to leverage a proven high temperature gas reactor baseline from Japan and adopt a new approach to its design, build, construction and operation.
- National Nuclear Laboratory will also receive £250,000 for a project that aims to deliver a domestic commercial fuel supply starting with the first fuel load for the high temperature gas reactor demonstration.
- Springfields Fuels in Salwick, Lancashire, is being backed with £243,311 for a collaboration with Urenco to support its range of potential high temperature gas reactor technologies.
On top of this, the government will provide up to £830,000 to the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency to develop their capability and consider innovative regulatory approaches to high temperature gas reactors.
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