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Researchers bid to make nuclear technology viable

Posted on 29 Nov 2018 and read 2489 times
Researchers bid to make nuclear technology viableExperts from the finance, nuclear, construction and manufacturing sectors assembled earlier this month at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry “to explore taking smaller nuclear reactors from concept to construction”.

Around 200 delegates from across the UK discussed the commercialisation of small modular reactors that could “radically reduce the costs associated with the nuclear sector”. The first such reactors could be built as soon as 2030, with potential for exports world-wide.

To help commercialise these “revolutionary reactors”, Nuclear Energy Minister Richard Harrington announced a number of crucial steps, including: inviting developers to submit design proposals to identify potential risks; reducing investment risks for potential backers; setting out a how a £32 million Advanced Manufacturing and Construction Programme would allow companies to bid for funds to test new technologies; and ironing out potential flaws before production “starts at scale”.

Mr Harrington said: “Hosting this first-ever conference and bringing together more than 200 influencers from across the industry demonstrates our commitment to enhancing our world-leading nuclear sector.

Increasing competitiveness in the sector — both nationally and regionally — could help UK industry to seize the global challenge of taking this new generation of nuclear power from concept to construction.

“Clean and secure nuclear energy already provides a reliable source of low-carbon electricity. In 2016, nuclear energy provided 20% of our electricity in the UK, as well as providing the reliable bedrock upon which other clean sources — such as renewables — can thrive.

"These new small reactors, which can be built in factories off-site, could be placed on a footprint similar in size to a football stadium and add to the UK’s diverse low-carbon energy mix.”

The Coventry event followed a visit on 25 October by Business Secretary Greg Clark to the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC) in Sheffield, where he met apprentices and staff developing this cutting-edge technology.